News Sees Exec Exodus Similar to Coinbase

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Cryptocurrency infrastructure provider Blockchain — the company, not the technology — is reportedly going through an employee exodus after it unveiled a flagship product — its exchange, The PIT.

Technology publication The Information reported on Wednesday that the firm is expected to see two high-level executives leave.

The Pit

Blockchain May Lose C-Suite Member & Vice President

Sources familiar with the matter told The Information that both Chief Operating Officer Liana Douillet Guzmán and executive vice president of finance Chris Lavery may soon leave

If true, this move may have a large impact on Blockchain, as the two individuals are purportedly the longest-serving executives at the company, having joined in 2015 and 2016.

That’s purportedly far from the end of it. The Information’s insiders went on to say that other executives had also made exits, including Blockchain’s head of institutional sales and strategy, global head of security, and global head of institutional markets. It isn’t clear if the company has hired replacements for these roles just yet.

The Information’s report alleges that many of the recent departures are believed by Blockchain’s board to be due to the hires’ inability to fit with the more startup-esque and crypto-centric culture that was present at the firm.

However, other sources claimed that the departures may have something to do with a perceived inability to grow their careers at Blockchain and certain initiatives the upstart launched, including and especially the giving away of millions of dollars worth of Stellar Lumens to get consumers to use its wallet.

Others even cited a difficult work environment imposed by Blockchain CEO Peter Smith — something which a company spokesperson vehemently denied.

Still Growing

Although may be in a precarious situation with a C-level executive and a vice president seemingly abdicating their positions, it isn’t seeing a full-on “brain drain” — a term used to describe a mass emigration of talent to another company, place, or industry.

At the turn of the month, the startup revealed in a company blog that it had onboarded Howard Surloff as its new General Counsel. Surloff brings Blockchain over his 25 years of experience in legal strategy, which he used as a “catalyst for massive growth at two of the world’s largest and most respected financial institutions, Blackrock and Goldman Sachs.”

Welcome Howard Surloff: Blockchain's new General Counsel

The post made no mention of any executive depatures, and Smith did not skip a beat when commenting on the hiring of Surloff:

“Howard’s passion for legal, compliance, and operational excellence in new markets will be vital to executing our strategy globally.”

In related news, Yahoo Finance last month reported that two sources told them that Blockchain is currently seeking $50 million in funding for a new venture. The venture is — pun not intended — Blockchain Ventures, which will use the capital injection to invest in cryptocurrency startups and actual digital assets.

Coinbase in Similar Situation

Blockchain’s case is very similar to that of Coinbase, another massive cryptocurrency startup that has roots in Silicon Valley.

Over the past few months, the $8 billion giant has seen some half-dozen executives call it quits, leaving the firm abruptly in search of new stints.

The executives that have left the industry behemoth include COO Asiff Hirji, VP Adam White, and CTO Balaji Srinivasan.

Another report from The Information that outlined Coinbase’s own executive exodus claims that a primary point of contention within the company was if it should focus on attracting financial institutions or retail investors to its platform by expanding the variety of cryptocurrencies supported by its roster of products.


I am a writer who has been following the cryptocurrency space since 2013. My insights and interviews have been featured in leading publications in the industry such as LongHash, NewsBTC, and Decrypt. When I am not writing, I work as a team member of the EXODUS division of HTC, a Taiwanese electronics company. I own a small amount of Bitcoin. Contact

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