Coinbase Loses Another C-Suite Exec amid Mass Exodus at the Exchange

By CCN: The hits just keep on coming for popular U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. Asiff Hirji took to Twitter to reveal that after less than two years as the Coinbase president and chief operating officer in San Francisco, he was calling it quits. Incidentally, Hirji, who is a TD Ameritrade alum, joined Coinbase during bitcoin’s last bull run and endured throughout the crypto winter. It’s unclear why he had a change of heart when bitcoin is in the middle of a stretch that many believe will be its best performance yet. In the tweet, Hirji said:

“Coinbase tour of duty over. Scaled to over $1 billion in revenue; launched new assets, countries, and products; achieved $8b valuation; and built out team. Company in a far better place and ready for next chapter. Cheering on Brian Armstrong and the rest of the team.”

CCN received the following comment from Coinbase Co-Founder and CEO Brian Armstrong:

We’re incredibly grateful for Asiff’s contributions over the past 18 months. His experience and mentorship helped guide Coinbase through an important chapter in its history. He joined at a critical time when both the company and crypto space were going through rapid growth, bringing his extensive experience to bear when it was most necessary.” 

 

Hirji’s sudden departure has to sting Armstrong. The COO’s resignation sounded a lot like that of the crypto exchange’s former CTO, Balaji Srinivasan, which came earlier this month:

 

Last month, Coinbase’s former head of U.S. sales, Christine Sandler, left for Fidelity Digital Assets. That had to hurt.

Not too long before that, at year-end 2018, Coinbase lost another executive when Adam White decamped for Bakkt, a bitcoin futures exchange launched by NYSE parent company ICE. That’s several C-suite executives in a matter of months. Something must be in the water at Coinbase.

One-Two Punch

The departure seemingly couldn’t have come at a worse time for Coinbase, with rival exchange Binance having what appears to be a record year. Not only is Binance’s native cryptocurrency BNB up by an eye-popping 550% year-to-date, but the company is growing by leaps and bounds, this year’s unfortunate bitcoin hack notwithstanding. They launched a decentralized exchange and appear to be close to unveiling a margin trading business. According to reports, Coinbase is hot on their heels to launch their own margin trading feature, pending regulatory approval.

Even with all of the executive defection headwinds, Coinbase’s performance is solid. Bloomberg reports that Coinbase is custodying $1 billion-plus in digital assets and the exchange’s trading volume on the rise.

Coinbase has named Emilie Choi, vice president of business, data and international as the next COO.  

Last modified (UTC): May 31, 2019 4:29 PM

About the author

Gerelyn Terzo
Gerelyn Terzo

Gerelyn is Assistant Editor at CCN. Based in the U.S., she has also covered institutional investing on Wall Street but caught the bitcoin bug soon after. She resides 13 miles outside of New York, close enough but also far enough away to escape it all. Follower her on Twitter (@cryptogerelyn) or email [email protected]