Ex-Coinbase Compliance Officer: Basic Questions Still Hold Back Bitcoin

martine_head_fbDigital gold, decentralized ledger, global currency – it’s not easy to explain bitcoin in any setting, let alone to regulators or law enforcement officials.

If the task is any easier today, imagine attempting it in 2013. That was the challenge facing Coinbase’s inaugural chief compliance officer (CCO) Martine Niejadlik. A former senior director at eBay and PayPal and senior manager of fraud prevention at Amazon, Niejadlik admits even she had trouble coming to terms with the tech.

“Frankly, the first time [CEO] Brian Armstrong called me to tell me about Coinbase and bitcoin I thought he was nuts,” she recalls. “It took me some time, quite a bit of it, to understand why the technology could be very disruptive.”

Niejadlik ultimately took the role, overseeing Coinbase’s compliance during a period of rapid expansion that saw the company’s user base grow from 650,000 users in December 2013 to 2 million in January 2015. She left the company in February to take the “greatest job in the world” as a full-time parent.

During her time at Coinbase, she oversaw the company’s implementation and management of compliance procedures, ensuring that the firm and its employees operated in accordance with internal and external policies.

One of the biggest challenges of overseeing compliance in this setting, she believes, is the difficulty that comes with fitting bitcoin into existing regulations.

Niejadlik told CoinDesk:

“Basic questions such as ‘What is bitcoin?’, ‘Is it money?’, ‘Is it currency?’, ‘Is it an investment tool?’, ‘Is it property?’ don’t have straightforward answers, and different state and federal regulations contain different terms and definitions.”

Niejadlik explained that this confusion is evidenced in how different US agencies have approached the subject, with the IRS treating it as property and FinCEN labeling it a currency. She went on to argue that there’s a risk

Originally appeared at: http://www.coindesk.com/ex-coinbase-compliance-officer-basic-questions-still-hold-back-bitcoin/

Ex-Coinbase Compliance Officer: Basic Questions Still Hold Back Bitcoin is a story from: BitcoinWarrior.net


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