Coinbase's chief compliance officer is set to leave the firm

Quick Take

  • Coinbase’s chief compliance officer Jeff Horowitz is set to depart from the crypto exchange.
  • Horowitz’s departure is unrelated to Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong’s controversial blog post last week, according to one source at the firm. 

Coinbase's chief compliance officer Jeff Horowitz is set to exit the cryptocurrency exchange, according to several people familiar with the personnel move. 

Horowitz, whose career in financial services compliance spanned firms like Lehman Brothers and Citigroup, joined Coinbase in 2018. As the firm's first CCO, he played a role in shaping Coinbase's anti-money laundering policies as well as its compliance with recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). He also played "a big part" in onboarding JPMorgan as a banking partner for the cryptocurrency exchange, according to a source. 

Notably, Horowitz's departure appears to be unrelated to Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong's controversial blog post last week, which resulted in about 5% of employees exiting the exchange, according to a source familiar with the matter.

A Coinbase spokesperson confirmed the upcoming departure, noting: 

“Since joining the company in mid 2018, Jeff played an active role in helping to shape crypto and AML regulation with FATF, FinCEN, Dept. of Treasury and regulators around the globe. We’re grateful for his service and wish him the best in the future. While we conduct a search for a new CCO, our Chief Legal Officer, Paul Grewal, will take over day-to-day responsibility for our compliance programs, with support from our compliance leads.” 

In 2018, Horowitz's hire was reported as "one more important step" to legitimize the nascent crypto market. He joined the firm directly from Pershing, a subsidiary of BNY Mellon that focuses on brokerage services and custody. Here's a passage from a blog post by Coinbase about Horowitz's hire: 

"Before joining Pershing, Jeff led various compliance and AML programs at Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Salomon Brothers. He previously served as a banking regulator with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), along with twice serving as a member of FinCEN’s Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group (BSAAG)."

The departure was announced in an email to staff Tuesday evening, according to a source familiar with the situation. 

This story has been updated with additional information. 

© 2022 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Frank Chaparro covers the intersection of financial markets and cryptocurrency as Editor-at-Large. Since joining the publication in 2018 as its first reporter, he has played a key role in building The Block into a leader in financial journalism and research. He leads special projects, including The Block's flagship podcast, The Scoop. Prior to The Block, he held roles at Business Insider, NPR, and Nasdaq. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected]

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