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Shakeup: Coinbase COO Asiff Hirji Leaving the Cryptocurrency Exchange

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The 2019 leadership shakeup at U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has just seen its next bit of turnover.

On May 31st, the company confirmed its president and chief operating officer Asiff Hirji was stepping down from those positions, both of which Hirji had occupied since late 2017 when he was hired on at Coinbase. Hirji had previously served in those same respective positions at online broker giant TD Ameritrade.


No specific reason was cited for the departure, but Coinbase chief executive officer and co-founder Brian Armstrong unsurprisingly released a statement applauding Hirji for his tenure and for helping the exchange to navigate a formative period in its operations:

“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.”

So what’s next for the exchange now?

In the wake of Hirji’s departure announcement, Coinbase’s leadership said the company’s vice president of business and data, Emilie Choi, had assumed the COO position. Notably, Choi’s LinkedIn page indicates she’s been Coinbase COO since March 2019 — a possible indication that Hirji’s exit has been in the works for weeks.

Of course, Hirji’s departure is only the latest high-profile one from Coinbase. Balaji Srinivasan, the firm’s former chief technology officer, left the exchange in early May. Moreover, the exchange’s former VP of international business, Dan Romero, exited Coinbase last month.

It’s not clear what’s driving all the turnover, as all three of those executives were relatively recent additions to the Coinbase ecosystem. But what is clear is that this series of personnel shifts has made the exchange’s leadership reevaluate how it wants to move forward, or rather the departures are part of a company-wide reevaluation process.

Coinbase Is Eyeing Margin Trading, Says Choi

As Coinbase is in the middle of charting its path forward, it appears that margin trading — wherein a trader borrows funds from a broker to trade assets with financial leverage — may be among the next operational forays for the exchange.

That’s per VP turned COO Choi, who noted in an interview with The Block this week that the exchange was actively pivoting toward opening up a margin trading service for its users:

“Margin lend borrow is definitely going to be a next big step for us, especially on the active trader side […] We still need to figure that out because there’s not a lot of regulatory clarity there right now in the U.S. And so that that is being discussed.”

What remains to be seen is a timeline for when such a service would be unfurled. Considering the dense regulatory environment in America right now, it may just be that Coinbase wants to unfurl margin trading but won’t do so in the short-term while so many legal questions remain.

It’s also currently unclear if Coinbase would spin out the margin lending service as a separate platform, like how is focused on retail investors and Coinbase Pro is aimed at advanced and institutional traders.

Coinbase Adds EOS to and Mobile Apps

EOS, a once so-called Ethereum killer, was unfurled throughout the wider Coinbase ecosystem on Thursday. Initially, the cryptocurrency had only been added to Coinbase Pro last month.

Accordingly, Coinbase users can now buy, sell, send, and receive EOS on and the exchange’s associated iOS and Android phone apps.

In their announcement post, the exchange explained the project’s basic vision:

“EOS is a cryptocurrency designed to support large-scale decentralized applications. There are no fees to send or receive EOS. Instead, the protocol requires EOS to use resources like RAM, CPU, and network bandwidth.”

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William M. Peaster is a professional writer and editor who specializes in the Ethereum, Dai, and Bitcoin beats in the cryptoeconomy. He's appeared in Blockonomi, Binance Academy, Bitsonline, and more. He enjoys tracking smart contracts, DAOs, dApps, and the Lightning Network. He's learning Solidity, too! Contact him on Telegram at @wmpeaster

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