Coinbase's chief legal officer, Brian Brooks, is leaving the crypto exchange to become the second in command at the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
The OCC announced Brooks' appointment Monday, saying U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin designated Brooks as the new deputy effective April 1, 2020. Brooks, a former Fannie Mae executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, has served as chief legal officer at Coinbase since September 2018.
Mnuchin said in a statement he looks forward to working with Brooks to ensure "the stability of our financial system."
The OCC is responsible for for supervising and regulating national banks and financial institutions within the U.S. Established in 1863, the independent entity ensures banks are meeting capital and risk requirements, according to Investopedia.
Current Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting, who was nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump and sworn in in 2017, said in a statement that Brooks "brings an extensive career of legal, banking and financial innovation expertise to the agency."
"He is a visionary thinker with a passion for service and a deep understanding of how the financial services industry supports our nation's prosperity. We are fortunate to attract such an experienced and talented individual to join our federal agency," Otting said.
Indeed, Brooks has been a vocal proponent of developing a private digital currency for the U.S., writing in Fortune Magazine last year that private corporations are best suited to building a digital dollar.
He envisioned a system where the public sector would set monetary policy, but the actual technology would be built by the private space.
In a statement, a Coinbase spokesperson told CoinDesk that "in the midst of a public health and financial crisis, we are comforted to know that Brian Brooks will serve in this critical role overseeing the nation’s banking system."
"Brian is an amazing and accomplished leader who has been invaluable in shaping the Coinbase legal and compliance programs, and helping policymakers and regulators better understand the opportunities and benefits of crypto. We’re always proud of Coinbase alumni who go on to serve in government, bringing a crypto-friendly perspective with them," the spokesperson said.
Zack Seward contributed reporting.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.