Kraken has hired Edward Stadum from Fidor Bank to help oversee the increasingly complicated legal work related to running a global digital currency exchange.
In interview, Stadum said he left the Germany-based Fidor on good terms, explaining that his new position overseeing Kraken's legal work in Asia, Europe, the US and beyond stands to benefit both companies.
He told CoinDesk:
"There's a very important working relationship that involved Fidor providing banking account support to Kraken customers in the EU. And that's important business for them both."
Stadum will work "with particular emphasis" on San Francisco-based Kraken's best business practices, corporate governance, finance, acquisitions, strategy, technology and regulation. Previously, he served as US general counsel for Fidor.
Ransomware a top priority
As general counsel, Stadum's first priority going forward is helping Kraken deal with numerous requests by users who want to create accounts for the purpose of buying bitcoin to pay off ransomware, a cyberattack during which hackers freeze computer assets and demand payment in bitcoin before they restore access.
Some of these customers, Stadum suggested yesterday, have come to Kraken after being denied service by other bitcoin exchanges.
"A request came into us just today from someone who said he needed bitcoin to pay ransomware and he's gone to several exchanges and been denied," he added.
Among his other duties, Stadum will help Kraken look into the potential legal implications of knowingly setting up accounts for the specific purpose of paying ransom requests.
"This poses some potential interesting challenges for a bitcoin company for whether it can or should provide bitcoin for such a purpose. This is something that's coming at us right now and is a perfect example of what I'll be doing as the general counsel."
A continuing partnership
Stadum tells CoinDesk that he was originally commissioned by Kraken to write a report on certain aspects of the company's legal matters, a process during which he concluded "that Kraken badly needed a good general counsel."
"Ed wanted to join the team after seeing what was 'under the hood' while conducting an audit of Kraken," founder and CEO Jesse Powell said in a statement. "In fact, having a window into how things work at Kraken made him even more interested in joining our exchange."
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