Robinhood Hires Former Grayscale Compliance Chief

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In Brief
  • Robinhood Markets Inc. hired Benjamin Melnicki from Grayscale for its crypto division.

  • Melnicki will focus on compliance, as regulators mull major industry rules.

  • This comes a few days after Robinhood rolls out beta for new crypto offerings.

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The company behind the popular financial app, Robinhood, has hired former Compliance Chief of Grayscale for its crypto division. 

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Robinhood Markets Inc. brought on Benjamin Melnicki for their growing crypto division. Melnicki’s new role focuses on compliance with industry regulations in light of lawmakers’ continued scrutiny of digital assets. 

This new hire for Robinhood comes a few days after the news of Robinhood’s beta crypto features. The features surfaced in a beta version of the Robinhood app for iPhone. In the software code is a hidden image, which reveals a waitlist for users with interest in the crypto wallet. Additionally, the embedded code hints are crypto transfer abilities. 

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More comprehensive crypto features is a long awaited move from Robinhood, after various hints throughout the year. Therefore, this new addition of Melnicki comes as a part of this expansion. Prior to joining Robinhood, he oversaw compliance at Grayscale Investments. Before Grayscale Melnicki led regulatory affairs at Ripple Labs for the Americas. 

As mentioned above, the new role focuses on regulatory compliance. Earlier this summer, Robinhood received a fine for alleged cybersecurity, AML violations. This was after another $70 million fine from FINRA. With new regulations looming over the U.S. crypto industry, Melnicki’s role is of great importance to Robinhood’s latest venture. 

Looming Rules

The new hire focuses on compliance with crypto-industry regulations. This comes at a pivotal time for the crypto space worldwide, but particularly in the U.S.

At the moment, U.S. lawmakers have crypto regulation and tax provisions in limbo. Over the summer the big news out of the Senate came in the form of a bipartisan bill. The definition broadened the term “broker” in reference to the crypto space. If the wording is left unchanged most in the industry are in the same tax reporting bracket, from exchanges to individuals. 

Despite opposition to the bill, it passed through to the House. 

Crypto regulations are the hot topic in the Securities and Exchange Commission as well. The chairman, Gary Gensler remarked that crypto platforms need regulations for survival. He then detailed a possible roadmap for industry regulations. Nonetheless, U.S. lawmakers intend for some type of ruling for the industry by the end of month. 

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Savannah Fortis is a multimedia journalist covering stories at the intersection culture, international relations, and technology. Through her travels she was introduced to the crypto-community back in 2017 and has been interacting with the space since.

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