• Trust Machines seeks to expand Bitcoin as a decentralized finance platform
  • The company raised $150 million earlier this year

A startup building an ecosystem of Bitcoin applications has brought aboard Dan Held as an adviser to help the business scale its marketing department and develop product strategies.

Launched earlier this year, Trust Machines raised $150 million in February from Breyer Capital, Digital Currency Group, GoldenTree, Hivemind and Union Square Ventures to expand Bitcoin as a DeFi platform.

The company’s raise was to be used “to extend Bitcoin from being only a passive store of value to being the final settlement layer for a powerful new computational platform,” according to Trust Machines’ website.

“I believe Trust Machines and its team is uniquely positioned to bring DeFi (decentralized finance) applications to the Bitcoin protocol, inevitably unlocking trillions in value,” Held said in a statement. 

Held, most recently the director of growth marketing at crypto exchange Kraken, is stepping down from that role, he revealed in a blog post Thursday. He will continue his relationship with the company in a part-time brand ambassador role.

He also founded Zeroblock, which was later acquired by Blockchain.com, where he worked as director of product. 

Held said last October that bitcoin’s market capitalization could ultimately reach between $50 trillion and $150 trillion if the asset succeeds as a global reserve currency, or “gold 2.0.” The comments came before bitcoin’s run-up to an all-time high of nearly $70,000 last November. Bitcoin’s price was below $23,000 on Thursday morning, and its market cap was hovering around $435 billion. 

“Dan has an amazing ability to simplify complex concepts and reach large audiences,” Trust Machines CEO Muneeb Ali said in a statement. “We’re seeing a revival of Bitcoin builders’ culture and Dan’s work with us on growth marketing can help accelerate the adoption of Bitcoin layers and unlock productive capital through Bitcoin apps.”

Held’s addition to the team comes after Asiff Hirji, president of crypto lender Figure and former president and chief operating officer of Coinbase, joined the company as an adviser in June. 

Also joining Trust Machines last quarter was Manas Mohapatra as general counsel, Rena Shah as head of operations and strategy, and Aubrey Strobel as a marketing and communications advisor.  

A Trust Machines spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.


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  • Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering macro and crypto-native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Prior to joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for various local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. Contact Ben via email at [email protected]