Coinbase, one of the largest and most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has chosen Asiff Hirji as its new president and chief operations officer.
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Hirji is a former top executive at Hewlett Packard and TD Ameritrade, giving him a significant advantage over other contenders: he knows finance and technology. At Coinbase, an exchange that deals in digital currencies, that knowledge will serve him well.
“It’s a huge hire for us,” said CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong. “This is going to give us a ton of leverage to grow our existing businesses.”
Odd Times Ahead for Coinbase
Hirji enters Coinbase during a tumultuous time. The exchange recently added over 100,000 user accounts to its platform over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The price of bitcoin and ether (Coinbase’s primary currencies) have traveled through the roof, and the business is now valued at over $1.5 billion.
But there’s a dark cloud forming over Coinbase in the form of recent IRS regulations calling for the exchange to hand over information regarding its largest traders. How Hirji deals with this and the notion of customer privacy in general will be interesting to see.
Additionally, Coinbase has experienced several outages over the last few months, so Hirji certainly has a lot to consider when walking through the exchange’s door.
Enthusiasm Is in the Air for Hirji
However it was nothing but joy and optimism for the investment mogul when being asked about what he thought of Coinbase and digital currency in general.
“We’ve seen some of the highest trading days ever in the last few days,” he explained when referring to Coinbase’s recent figures. He was also quick to comment on cryptocurrency’s growing mainstream status, commenting that it was “no longer a fringe thing just for fan boys. The Wall Street crowd and traditional old guard in the financial world are jumping in as well.”
Earlier this year Coinbase introduced Toshi, a cryptocurrency-based app that bears strong resemblances to WeChat. The company also brought users a “custodial service that offers to securely store cryptocurrency holdings for institutional investors like hedge funds.”
“As the asset class becomes more mainstream, more opportunities are going to present themselves,” Armstrong commented.
The company has also spent a fortune (over $100 million) on developing its customer service department in recent months. With bitcoin and ether continuing to boom, many customers have complained that they’ve spent days to weeks awaiting answers or resolutions to issues and questions they were experiencing, and Coinbase is looking to change this quickly.
Do you feel Hirji can bring Coinbase to new heights? Post your comments below.
Images via Twitter, Coinbase, Fortune