Facebook hires 2 blockchain compliance experts from Coinbase

Facebook has poached two long-time employees from buzzy blockchain startup Coinbase who focus on compliance, as rumors swirl about the social networking giant’s blockchain plans.

Mikheil Moucharrafie and Jeff Cartwright both joined Facebook in May, according to their LinkedIn profiles, where they will focus on compliance issues — an area that both specialized in during their years at Coinbase, a San Francisco-headquartered crypto startup privately valued at $8 billion.

Moucharrafie was at Coinbase for almost four years, most recently as a risk manager and before that as a compliance manager where he “led [a] team of compliance analysts”; he now works as a Compliance Officer, Blockchain at Facebook. Cartwright, meanwhile, was Coinbase’s director of regulatory risk and exams, and its head of internal audit as well as working on compliance management before that. He is now working for Facebook as a Policy and Compliance Manager; his LinkedIn profile doesn’t specify blockchain, but it seems likely given his professional background and the timing of the hire.

There have been numerous leaks about Facebook’s secretive efforts in recent months that indicate the company is building a cryptocurrency that will power payments on its WhatsApp messaging service. Most recently, Bloomberg reported that the team now has 50 employees, and could finally announce a product publicly in the third quarter of 2019.

The two compliance hires suggest that as it prepares to launch, the $515 billion company is looking to experts elsewhere in the industry to ensure its blockchain efforts comply with relevant regulations governing a still-nascent industry that is notorious for scandals and regulatory missteps — and to try and prevent its plans from being marred by the kinds of crises that have beset other areas of Facebook’s business in the last two years.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.

Facebook has also looked to other companies to build out its compliance…

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