Former US Currency Comptroller Brian Brooks Hired as Next CEO of Binance.US

Brian Brooks, a former top US banking regulator, will become the new Chief Executive Officer of Binance.US, the US affiliate of overseas cryptocurrency exchange Binance Holdings Limited.

In an interview, Brooks confirmed that he would begin the new job on May 1. The current CEO at Binance.US, Catherine Coley, will leave the firm by the start of May.

Brooks stated that his priorities at Binance.US would include reinforcing the crypto exchange’s commitment to regulatory compliance and making it a strong competitor to Coinbase. He said: “I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t have a strong commitment from the board to lead a strong compliance program.”

Brooks, the former acting head of the Office of The Comptroller of The Currency under the Trump administration, is regarded as the “Crypto Comptroller” on social media, referring to his friendly attitude towards cryptocurrencies.

Under his leadership at the Office of The Comptroller of The Currency (OCC), Brooks introduced guidance clarifying that federally chartered banks can offer crypto custody services and use stablecoins to facilitate payment activities. The landmark announcement assisted in making it easier for traditional institutions to get into cryptocurrency.    

Brooks worked at the OCC, a unit of the Treasury Department, as the acting head of comptroller for eight months from May 2020 to January 2021. Before he joined the OCC, he worked at Coinbase Global Inc. as the chief legal officer. In the past, he also worked as a general counsel of mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae.

Binance was founded in 2017 in China and later moved its offices to Malta and Japan. The overseas crypto exchange launched its US crypto branch, Binance.US, in 2019 to allow the firm to legally serve US customers. Binance exchange blocks US citizens to avoid facing regulatory difficulties with US regulators.

Why Crypto Firms Targeting Ex-Regulators

In recent months, cryptocurrency firms have hired many former government officials to not only seek mainstream acceptance but also to strengthen their compliance game. Such kinds of hires could assist crypto exchanges in navigating potential pitfalls in the emerging US regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.

Last month, Coinbase hired Brett Redfearn, the former high-ranking director from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to run its capital-markets division. Also last month, One River crypto asset management company hired Jay Clayton, the former SEC chairman, to join the academic and regulatory advisory council at the company. 

Also last month, Binance main oversees crypto exchange hired Max Baucaus, the former Democratic senator from Montana and US ambassador to China, as a policy and government-relations adviser.

This month, BlockFi crypto company hired Christopher Giancarlo, the former Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman, to join the company’s board of directors.   

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Former OCC Head Brian Brooks to Lead Binance.US

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Binance has appointed the former acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Brian Brooks to lead its U.S. operations. 

Brian Brooks, the “CryptoComptroller” 

Brooks will replace Catherine Coley, who has held the position since Binance.US launched in September 2019. 

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange launched the U.S. affiliate to comply with American laws. At current., the parent exchange, does not allow American citizens to use its services. Adding Brian Brooks to the team will likely assist in the exchange’s continue regulatory approval. 

Brooks told the Wall Street Journal, 

“I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t have a strong commitment from the board to lead a strong compliance program.”

Brooks served as the head of the banking regulations under the Trump administration from May 2020 to January. He was popularly known as “CryptoComptroller” for his favorable attitude towards the industry. 

Under Brook’s leadership, the U.S. regulatory agency published several interpretations during the eight-month period. 

On the last day of his brief tenure, the OCC granted the first banking-charter license to Anchorage Digital Bank. A week before that, the OCC allowed banks to run blockchain nodes to service payments and decentralized applications. 

Brooks has also earlier served as the Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase. Now, the lawyer turned regulator will look to compete with the likes of Coinbase and strengthen the regulatory outlook of the American unit.

The founder and CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, serves as a board member of Binance.US.

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Former currency comptroller to become CEO of Binance.US crypto exchange

Brian Brooks, the former acting comptroller of the currency of the United States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is set to become the new CEO of major cryptocurrency exchange Binance.US.

According to a Tuesday announcement, Brooks will replace current Binance.US CEO Catherine Coley effective May 1, 2021. 

Formerly the head of Coinbase’s legal team, Brooks has emerged as a prominent figure in the crypto industry due to his continued efforts to provide regulatory clarity for crypto. Referred to in the community as the “first fintech Comptroller” and “Crypto Comptroller,” Brooks served as acting comptroller of the currency from May 2020 to January 2021.

Binance CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao said that Brooks’ expertise and knowledge will be invaluable as Binance.US continues to expand. “Brian is an esteemed leader with an unparalleled blend of experience across traditional financial services, government, and the digital assets industry. Binance.US’ ability to attract an executive of Brian’s caliber is a testament to the strength of its platform,” he said.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Brooks said that his priorities at Binance.US would include making the exchange a strong competitor of Coinbase as well as reinforcing its commitment to regulatory compliance.

“We are at the cusp of mainstream adoption of blockchain technology and digital tokens by individuals, institutions, and governments alike. I am eager to work closely with industry participants and policymakers to develop an enduring regulatory framework that enables Americans to reap the benefits of decentralized finance for generations to come,” Brooks stated.

Binance launched its U.S. affiliate in September 2019. Headquartered in San Francisco, the exchange positioned itself as a separate company from the global Binance exchange, while both are founded by Zhao.