- The popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase just hired industry veteran Asiff Hirji as president and chief operating officer (COO).
- Hirji joins from the legendary VC firm Andreessen Horowitz – though he’s also served executive roles at Hewlett-Packard and TP Ameritrade.
- The new hire come at a time of growing pains at the richly-valued company, whose popularity has outpaced its ability to expand.
Tech veteran Asiff Hirji is joining the bitcoin exchange Coinbase as president and chief operating officer, the company announced Friday.
Hirji, a tech industry veteran, replaces Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, who served as president of the company until January. The leadership change comes as Coinbase, which has been valued by private investors at $US1.6 billion, experiences growing pains.
With bitcoin’s popularity and price surging, Coinbase’s cryptocurrency exchanged has struggled to cope with a flood of novice traders.
The exchange has had several large-scale outages in the last few months, including this week, after bitcoin prices surged above $US11,000 and then crashed back down around $US9,000. On Wednesday, many Coinbase users found themselves locked out of their accounts and unable to trade.
The company has also faced challenges from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which on Wednesday won a year-long battle over its request for transaction information on more than 14,000 high-rolling Coinbase traders.
Hirji joins from the famed venture capital firm and Coinbase investor Andreessen Horowitz, where he was a partner. He also spent time in executive roles at Hewlett-Packard and the popular online stock trading platform TD Ameritrade.
Despite the challenges, Coinbase remains one of the more popular and mainstream exchanges for the digital currencies bitcoin, ether, and litecoin, at a time when both consumers and institutions like banks and governments are beginning to see value in cryptocurrencies.
The platform simplifies a trading process that many people find mystifying, and restricts its exchanges to established digital currencies that have shown stability, so as to not scare off new investors.
In September, the company put some of its a $US100 million funding round toward growing its customer service department after some customers said they spent weeks trying to contact the company about issues like locked up funds.