A former UK finance minister on Wednesday (January 31, 2024) has reportedly joined crypto exchange Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) to serve as the firm’s global advisor.
As reported by CNBC, this latest appointment made by Coinbase is expected to strengthen the digital asset firm’s regulatory position at a time when it is dealing with significant scrutiny stateside on various issues.
Coinbase confirmed that George Osborne, who served as Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2010 to 2016, will join the firm on its global advisory council.
Notably, he will be joining other luminaries such as Mark Esper, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, and former US Senator Patrick Toomey on the council, which focuses on advising Coinbase on its global strategy as it grows its reach around the world.
Faryar Shirzad, Coinbase’s chief policy officer, stated that the firm was pleased to have George join their council at an exciting time for them in the UK as well as globally.
Shirzard said that George brings with him “a wealth of experience in business, journalism and government” and that they “look forward to relying on his insights and experiences as they grow Coinbase around the world.”
Osborne is now expected to serve in an advisory role at Coinbase, helping connect the firm with politicians and regulators to help advance the mission of developing crypto-friendly regulations.
Although chancellor of the exchequer, Osborne introduced various austerity policies intended to curb the budget deficit, such as placing a freeze on child benefits, lowering housing benefits, and introducing a 2-year pay freeze for public sector employees, he also made an effort to support business activity by lowering corporation tax.
Osborne is a partner at Robey Warshaw LLP, an investment bank.
“There’s a huge amount of exciting innovation in finance right now. Blockchains are transforming financial markets and online transactions. Coinbase is at the frontier of these developments. I look forward to working with the team there as they build a new future in financial services.”
Initial indications of a potential relationship between Osborne and Coinbase surfaced this past year when Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong discussed onstage in a fireside moderated by Osborne at a fintech event held in London.
Osborne’s appointment has been announced at a time when Coinbase has made efforts to expand operations across Europe. The firm is expanding in various countries during the past several months with new licenses having been acquired.
Coinbase obtained a virtual asset service provider license in France this past month. The firm also acquired licenses in Spain, Singapore, and Bermuda.
Despite these developments, Coinbase is dealing with an aggressive regulatory crackdown in the United States, where the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has alleged that the firm has violated applicable securities laws. Coinbase has firmly denied these allegations from the US regulator.
It’s worth noting that in previous interviews, Armstrong has stated that Coinbase had no set plans to relocate from its US head offices in San Francisco.
He shared that Coinbase is “not going to relocate overseas.” Armstrong added that they are “always going to have a U.S. presence. But the U.S. is a little bit behind right now.”