a16z Hires Crypto Security and Tech Leads from Facebook

New executives co-created the crypto custody infrastructure for social media giant’s Novi wallet


Blockworks exclusive art by axel rangel


key takeaways

  • Nassim Eddequiouaq and Riyaz Faizullabhoy served as engineering and technical leads for many aspects of Facebook’s project to safely bring crypto to new users
  • Venture capital firm still seeking to fill chief of staff and senior product manager roles within crypto unit, job postings indicate

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, known as a16z, has tapped former engineering and technical leads at Facebook to guide the firm’s security and technology efforts. 

Nassim Eddequiouaq will serve as a16z’s chief information security officer while Riyaz Faizullabhoy will be its chief technology officer. 

“Crypto is growing and adapting so quickly that it’s difficult for even the most technically-savvy founders to ensure they’re following the latest security best practices,” a16z Crypto chief operations officer Anthony Albanese wrote in a recent blog post. “We began searching for a world-class security leader to consult with the projects in our portfolio and help our own operations scale in a crypto-native way, and were doubly fortunate to find a pair of them instead.”

Before joining a16z Crypto, Nassim and Riyaz co-created the crypto custody infrastructure for Facebook’s Novi wallet, which converts users’ money to a Diem digital currency that they can send to others around the world. They were each at Facebook for about two years. 

Nassim and Riyaz were first introduced to crypto during their time at institutional digital asset custodian Anchorage, where Faizullabhoy was a founding engineer and Eddequiouaq joined shortly after as an engineering lead.

“While they were both initially skeptical about the blockchain space, the technical challenge of securing private keys in a large distributed infrastructure was compelling to them,” Albanese wrote. “They quickly realized the potential and power of blockchain across many applications and use cases.”

The hires come after a16z announced last month that Brian Quintenz, a former commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, was set to join the firm.

In a June blog post, in which the firm introduced its $2.2 billion crypto fund, a16z general partners Chris Dixon, Katie Haun and Ali Yahya wrote that the company was “bringing together heavy-hitters across several functions to help translate crypto to the mainstream.” They noted hires across marketing, public relations, policy, regulatory affairs, recruiting and general startup management at the time.

Andreessen Horowitz is continuing to look for talent for its crypto efforts, job postings show. It is seeking a chief of staff to support the chief operations officer and the crypto operations organization, which includes executing business initiatives, investing, building out the team and working on other special projects. 

The firm is also looking for a senior crypto product manager, who would manage a16z’s crypto projects in order to create a clear and concise plan for the crypto and IT operations team. Other open crypto roles include an events partner, data science engineers, a deal analyst and a social media manager.

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