By Surojit Chatterjee , Chief Product Officer
Over the past 12 months, we’ve increased the performance of our exchange, rolled out support for new assets, grown our coverage team in the US, APAC and Europe, crossed $90B in assets on platform as of December 31, 2020, utilizing the enhanced trading tools from our Tagomi acquisition to win large public clients, and launched a market maker program while building the institutional brand more widely.
Today, we’re excited to announce another milestone for the company: Brett Redfearn will join Coinbase as our VP of Product, Capital Markets. Reporting to me, he will be responsible for defining and driving a vision and strategy to set the global standard for crypto capital markets, including digital asset securities and our crypto trading platform.
Brett brings more than 25 years of experience in senior leadership roles across the financial services landscape. Most recently, he served as the Director of the Division of Trading & Markets at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where he led more than 250 professional staff responsible for the regulation of exchanges, broker dealers, clearing agencies and transfer agents. Prior to that, he spent 13 years at JP Morgan, serving as Global Head of Market Structure, Algorithmic Trading, and Liquidity Products throughout his tenure. His extensive expertise in markets, regulation and electronic trading makes him the ideal candidate for this position.
I recently sat down with Brett to tell us why he’s excited to join Coinbase. Following is an excerpt of our conversation:
Surojit: You’ve had an impressive career working across the private and public sector. What made this role at Coinbase a compelling opportunity?
Brett: “I’ve always been fascinated with the impact that new technologies have on financial markets. Over the course of my career, I have been directly involved in our markets’ evolution, whether at a traditional floor-based stock exchange, a growing electronic exchange, on a Wall Street trading desk, or at the SEC. I witnessed firsthand how the electronification of trading transformed markets and trading practices and understand well how regulation can both spur it on or keep it in check. I believe that digital assets are at a similar crossroads today. The technology has matured, the regulatory requirements are more clear, and the environment is increasingly conducive for bringing digital assets, including securities, to millions of investors.
Surojit: What excites you the most about the potential for blockchain technology in the evolving cryptoeconomy, especially for digital asset securities?
Brett: I believe that blockchain technology has the ability to creatively address some of the fundamental limitations that exist in today’s primary and secondary markets. It is well known that companies are staying private longer or deciding not to go public. Blockchain technology enables creative new forms of access to capital and investors. It is also true that secondary markets today are overly complex and provide uneven access to different types of participants. I believe that a digitized trading ecosystem can help democratize retail investors’ ability to access our capital markets on a fair and level playing field. I also believe that instantaneous settlement will eventually be possible, which could ameliorate capital requirements and improve market liquidity.
Surojit: While you were at the SEC, you had to deal with several issues associated with cryptocurrencies and digital assets. What are some lessons learned from that experience?
Brett: Unfortunately, my initial experience with initial coin offerings tokens was primarily through Enforcement cases. Many early token innovators did not realize that they were actually creating securities that were subject to a significant set of regulatory requirements. This happened all too often during the ICO rush of 2017. I also witnessed efforts to build marketplaces for digital assets, including securities, some of which were more attuned to regulatory obligations than others. Nonetheless, through it all, I appreciated the significant potential in this space if issuers, markets, and market participants could appropriately navigate the regulatory landscape. And that is something I can help make happen. Working hand-in-hand with the outstanding engineers at Coinbase and innovators in the new crypto economy, I intend to help build a market ecosystem that creates new efficiencies and democratizes the investment process while being 100% compliant with our securities laws.
Surojit: You mentioned that you think that the environment is increasingly conducive for digital asset securities. Why do you think that is the case?
Brett: Firstly, there have recently been important regulatory developments at the SEC, the CFTC, and the OCC that are paving the way for greater opportunities for the cryptoeconomy. Secondly, once confirmed by the Senate, the new Chairman of the SEC, is extremely knowledgeable about all things crypto, including digital assets. I think he will help to provide greater regulatory clarity. And lastly, the investing public and market participants — including institutions and traditional brokerage firms — are increasingly realizing the potential of blockchain technology and its potential to play a significant role in our markets’ future, including securities markets.
Our team at Coinbase is continuing to build the end-to-end financial infrastructure and technology for the cryptoeconomy. Come build with us. https://www.coinbase.com/careers.