Coinbase, a San Francisco-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange, announced on Wednesday that it has added Brian Brooks to its legal team as the firm’s Chief Legal Officer. Brooks is a seasoned law expert and will be taking over from Mike Lempres, who has been leading the company’s legal efforts until now.
The addition of Brooks is part of Coinbase’s effort to increase its legal, compliance and government affairs capabilities. This is especially important given the rapidly-evolving regulatory environment of the cryptocurrency space.
With the addition of Brooks, Lempres will now focus on scaling the crypto exchange’s government affairs program. This will include Coinbase as a founding member of the Blockchain Association, a non-profit trade association based in Washington DC which will serve as the unified voice of the blockchain ecosystem. The program also includes managing the Coinbase Political Action Committee.
In an article published on Medium, Brian Armstrong, the Co-founder and CEO of Coinbase said that the appointment of Brooks was coming at a critical time in the regulatory crypto environment.
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Specifically, Armstrong said: “In recent years, the industry expanded faster than we could have imagined with an explosion in customer demand and entrepreneurial activity pushing the capabilities of the ecosystem forward.
“As this trend continues, it is more important than ever that we contribute to a public policy and regulatory environment that fosters innovation while protecting investors.”
The Extensive Career of Brian Brooks
During his career, Brooks has held a number of legal roles at well-known companies. Before joining Coinbase, he was most recently serving as the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Fannie Mae, the largest financial institution in the United States.
Here, Brooks led the firm’s legal department and government relations group which consisted of 200 professionals. In addition, Brooks also acted as a senior advisor to the Chief Executive Officer of Fannie Mae and its Board of Directors.
Prior to this, Brooks worked at OneWest Bank, N.A. This was a regional depository institution which Brooks helped sell to CIT Group. At the firm, he was responsible for managing its senior regulatory relationships. Brooks has also worked at O’Melveny & Myers LLP.