Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitstamp Sees Two Top Lawyers Depart

Bitstamp Ltd., one of the world’s oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, has parted ways with two of its top in-house lawyers, Mary Beth Buchanan and Caitlin Barnett.

Buchanan, hired by Bitstamp in early 2020 as its chief legal officer, left the company earlier this year to join digital asset investment banking startup Menai Financial Group LLC as chief legal and compliance officer.

Barnett, who joined Bitstamp in mid-2019 as its U.S. chief compliance officer, also left last month to become director of regulation and compliance at blockchain analysis, research, and risk management startup Chainalysis Inc.

The departures came as Bitstamp’s largest rival, San Francisco-based Coinbase Global Inc., prepared to go public on the Nasdaq exchange. Founded in 2011 and now based in Luxembourg, Bitstamp was sold in 2018 to a European affiliate of South Korean conglomerate NXC Corp.

Bitstmap didn’t respond to requests for comment about the departures of Barnett and Buchanan. The company named a new European head of legal in February in Agathes Laissus, a former Hogan Lovells associate it recruited last year as a senior legal officer in Luxembourg.

Menai, Buchanan’s new home, was founded last year by its CEO, Zoe Cruz, a former co-president of Morgan Stanley. Cruz also once served on the board of Ripple Labs Inc., a cryptocurrency company where she was also a senior strategic adviser.

Buchanan started her Menai job in January, according to her LinkedIn profile. A March 3 securities filing by the company shows that Buchanan is among several former Wall Street executives now working with Cruz at the company.

She didn’t respond to a request for comment about her decision to leave Bitstamp, which on its website has posted an opening for a U.S. legal chief position.

Buchanan is a former partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in New York and one-time U.S. attorney for Pennsylvania’s western district. Bitstamp hired her last year from Payward Inc., the parent company of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, where she had spent nearly two years as general counsel.

Kraken subsequently replaced Buchanan by hiring legal chief Marco Santori, a veteran digital currency lawyer. Kraken has recently ridden the soaring price of bitcoin to a valuation estimated at $10 billion, per Bloomberg News.

Barnett was hired March 1 by Chainalysis, said Maddie Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the company. Kennedy told Bloomberg Law that Chainalysis is looking to bring on a general counsel in Washington to lead its in-house legal department.

Barnett didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about joining Chainalysis. The company was valued at $2 billion in March after receiving a $100 million investment from a group of investors led by the investment fund of Salesforce.com Inc. co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff.

Amanda Wick, a former federal prosecutor who most recently served as a senior policy adviser with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, was hired by Chainalysis in October as its chief of legal affairs.

Last year, Chainalysis lost its former chief technical counsel, Michael Mosier, when he took the No. 2 job at FinCen. Mosier, who was a deputy director and digital innovation officer at FinCen, was named acting director of the bureau on April 2 after Kenneth Blanco resigned to take a financial crimes compliance job at Citigroup Inc.


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