Coinbase Taps Former UK Finance Minister George Osborne for Advisory Role

Coinbase Taps Former UK Finance Minister George Osborne for Advisory Role

3 min read

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has strategically enlisted the expertise of George Osborne, the former UK Finance Minister, to join its global advisory council. This move comes at a critical juncture for Coinbase as the platform grapples with escalating regulatory scrutiny, particularly in the United States.

Key Strategy Role

Coinbase officially disclosed the appointment, revealing that Osborne, who served as Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer from 2010 to 2016, will play a pivotal role in advising the company on its global strategy. The advisory council already boasts influential figures such as Mark Esper, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Patrick Toomey (R-PA), united to guide Coinbase through the evolving regulatory landscape.

Faryar Shirzad, Coinbase’s Chief Policy Officer, expressed enthusiasm about Osborne joining the council, stating, “We are pleased to have George join our council at an exciting time for us in the U.K. and globally. George brings with him a wealth of experience in business, journalism, and government. We look forward to relying on his insights and experiences as we grow Coinbase around the world.”

Osborne’s role will be instrumental in establishing connections between Coinbase and policymakers and regulators, strategically working towards the formulation of crypto-friendly regulations. His extensive background, including implementing austerity policies during his tenure as chancellor, positions him as a valuable asset in navigating the complex regulatory environment.

During his time as chancellor, Osborne initiated various austerity measures aimed at reducing the budget deficit. These measures included freezing child benefits, reducing housing benefits, and implementing a two-year pay freeze for public sector workers. Additionally, he sought to stimulate business activity by cutting corporation tax, showcasing a multifaceted understanding of economic policies.

Osborne, who also served as the editor-in-chief of London’s Evening Standard newspaper and is currently a partner at boutique investment bank Robey Warshaw LLP, expressed his excitement about the innovative developments in finance. He acknowledged the transformative impact of blockchains on financial markets and online transactions, emphasising Coinbase’s role at the forefront of these developments.

George Osborne’s Existing Ties with Coinbase

The collaboration between Osborne and Coinbase isn’t a recent development. Speculations about their growing relationship surfaced last year when Coinbase’s CEO, Brian Armstrong, participated in a fireside chat moderated by Osborne at a fintech event in London. Subsequently, Osborne engaged in discussions with Coinbase’s Chief Financial Officer, Alesia Haas, during a fireside chat at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Coinbase’s expansion across Europe has been notable, with the company securing licences in France, Spain, Singapore, and Bermuda in recent months. The move to bring Osborne on board aligns with Coinbase’s proactive approach to address regulatory challenges and foster relationships with key stakeholders globally.

Regulatory Challenges

In the midst of its European expansion, Coinbase faces a regulatory crackdown in the U.S. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused the platform of violating securities laws, a claim vehemently denied by Coinbase. Brian Armstrong, in a joint appearance with Osborne last year, hinted at the possibility of considering alternative locations if regulatory uncertainties persist.

Armstrong clarified in subsequent interviews that while Coinbase is exploring global markets, there are no formal plans to relocate from its U.S. headquarters in San Francisco. Despite regulatory challenges, Armstrong emphasised the significance of maintaining a U.S. presence, highlighting that the country, albeit lagging in regulatory clarity compared with other jurisdictions such as the U.K, remains a crucial market for Coinbase.

As Coinbase navigates the intricate web of global regulations, the addition of George Osborne to its advisory council underscores the company’s commitment to fostering dialogue with regulators and policymakers. Osborne’s wealth of experience and diverse background positions him as a strategic asset in Coinbase’s pursuit of shaping a crypto-friendly regulatory landscape worldwide.


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