Hedge fund CFO Alesia J. Haas is moving from Wall Street to fintech, becoming the first finance chief at cryptocurrency wallet and exchange firm Coinbase.
The current CFO of publicly traded Och-Ziff Capital Management joins a growing list of Wall Street bankers who, as CNBC reports, “have joined cryptocurrency-related start-ups as institutional interest in the space grows.”
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a blog post that Haas would bring “deep financial services experience to our growing company.”
“As a fintech company, finance is core to everything that we do,” he added. “We plan to continue bringing the best and brightest from both finance and technology companies to help create an open financial system for the world.”
Over the past few months, Coinbase has also hired a chief technology officer and vice presidents of communications, M&A, and finance. Recode said the hiring of a CFO could help Coinbase prepare for an initial public offering.
“While adding a high-powered CFO is often read by Wall Street and observers as part of an imminent IPO plan, that’s not such a strong clue with startups that operate in financial technology, or fintech,” it noted.
Before joining Och-Ziff as CFO in December 2016, Haas spent six years at OneWest Bank, where she was promoted to finance chief from head of strategy in September 2012. Her Wall Street experience also includes two years at Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity.
In other recent moves to fintech startups, Goldman Sachs executive Breanne Madigan joined crypto wallet maker Blockchain as head of institutional sales and strategy and Galaxy Digital hired another Goldman executive, Richard Kim, as chief operating officer.
“Haas’ addition to Coinbase comes at a critical moment for the cryptocurrency industry,” CNBC said. “The market saw unprecedented interest last year, with the world’s best-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin, surging to a record high near $20,000. But prices have fallen dramatically since then with bitcoin hovering around the $8,000 mark, according to data from CoinDesk.”
Coinbase, which was last valued at $1.6 billion, reportedly posted $1 billion in revenue last year.