Latest in Crypto Hiring: Robinhood Exec Jumps Ship to Digital Asset Platform

Polygon Labs adds a former Silvergate Bank board member as its first chief policy officer

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A longtime product executive who has spent time at Robinhood, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and American Express is moving into the crypto space.

Digital assets platform FalconX revealed Tuesday it has hired Baris Cetinok as its chief product officer. 

Cetinok most recently led product teams for Robinhood’s brokerage, trading and clearing platforms. Before that, he served in various senior roles for Apple, including senior director of product management for Apple Wallet, Apple Pay and iCloud. 

“Post-FTX fallout, there’s a growing need among institutional investors to improve risk management and trade more efficiently,” Cetinok said in a statement. “It’s an honor to join a company creating dependable infrastructure that facilitates global investor access to crypto while enabling the tokenization of traditional assets.”

Polygon Labs added Rebecca Rettig as its first chief policy officer as the blockchain platform eyes institutional growth.

Rettig was formerly a board member at Silvergate Bank and chief legal and policy officer at Aave Companies. She also previously represented blockchain and crypto clients as a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

“The end of 2022 was rough for crypto,” Rettig said in a Thursday tweet. “I did some soul searching about the industry [and] how to build a future I believe in. I kept coming back to the same idea: the most important thing right now is getting crypto policy right.”

She added that Polygon Labs is set to advocate for base-layer protection, DeFi, NFTs, Web3 gaming and innovative apps growing the Web3 world, as well as “sensible” regulation around front-ends, wallets and bridges.

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Rettig is also set to help develop legal frameworks for the Polygon-based tokenization of real-world assets, according to the company. 

An executive at banking titan State Street told Blockworks last year that using distributed ledger technology to tokenize funds and private assets would be a major focus in 2023. Larry Fink, CEO of asset management giant BlackRock, said in November he believes tokenization of securities is “the next generation for markets.”

Venture capital firm a16z promoted Eddy Lazzarin to chief technology officer for its crypto fund. 

A firm that invests in crypto and Web3 startups, a16z crypto has raised more than $7.6 billion for its four funds.

Lazzarin joined a16z as a data scientist in 2019 and became the company’s head of engineering about two years later. He is now set to oversee the research and security unit in addition to the engineering and data science division he had already been leading.  

“Under his leadership, a16z crypto’s engineers have been continuously adding to our suite of open-source tools that benefit the entire ecosystem — including Helios, Halmos, privacy-protecting airdrops, a starter pack for NFT analysis and more to come,” a16z partner Chris Dixon said in a tweet thread Wednesday.

Hong Kong-based Web3 company Artifact Labs appointed Phillip Pon as CEO. He replaces founder Gary Liu, who moves onto the company’s board as its director.

The company offers advisory services, product development, blockchain engineering and community management for entities looking to launch NFT projects.

Pon was previously the chief operating officer for digital asset company BC Technology Group and president of crypto exchange OSL. He was also chief operating officer of energy services company Lumenix and a longtime senior executive at financial services firm Gerson Lehrman Group.

What other crypto hiring news has Blockworks already covered this week?

Swiss crypto-focused bank SEBA hired a former JPMorgan banker to head its Asia Pacific division.

See: Ex-JPMorgan Banker Hired as Swiss Crypto Bank’s APAC Head

Amy Yu previously worked within JPMorgan’s prime brokerage services division for six years and also formerly worked at traditional finance giant UBS and Nomura. Yu jumped into crypto in 2018 by joining BitMEX to develop services for institutional clients. She then became head of sales for the Asia Pacific region at Genesis, which filed for bankruptcy in January.


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