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Blockchain.com Hires Washington Insider as Head of US Public Policy

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Blockchain.com has hired Ian Mair, a Washington, D.C. lobbyist with strong knowledge of the cryptocurrency industry, as its head of U.S. public policy, the provider of wallets and other crypto services said Monday.

Mair, who will report to Chief Business Officer Lane Kasselman, will oversee the London-based company’s efforts to build relationships with policymakers and regulators both at the federal and state level and work internally to determine the policies for which it wants to advocate. He will initially head a four-person team.

In an interview with CoinDesk, Kasselman noted that Mair “has been well known in DC for having crypto expertise” and called him a boon to Blockchain.”

“We basically got one of the most experienced crypto lobbyists,” Kasselman added. “He already knows policy arguments. He knows (the) regulators who are involved in it.”

Mair spent eight years at The Smith-Free Group, a 26-year-old lobbying group that has offered advocacy and other services on a range of topics. As vice president at the firm, he advocated for fintech and financial services firms, among other clients, and produced Smith-Free’s weekly fintech newsletter.

Mair’s hiring is part of an ongoing effort to fill key positions as Blockchain.com looks to expand. In March, the company appointed Jim Messina, who was President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager and White House deputy chief of staff, to its board. “We are at the very beginning of building our public policy team,” Kasselman said. “You’ll see us bring on additional talent, not just in DC but also in the major states.”

The company raised $420 million in venture funding over two separate rounds earlier this year, the latter $300 million tranche at a valuation of $5.2 billion. The company said that it has created 76 million digital wallets, and over the past year, had seen a threefold increase in active users. “In DC, there’s an old saying that if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu,” Kasselman said. “So it’s critical that companies like ours have a seat.”

   
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