Coinbase Hires Google VP as Chief Product Officer

Surojit Chatterjee spent 11 years at Google, where he worked on payments, adtech and commerce. He most recently led the continuing development of Google Shopping, a service available in more than 90 countries. Prior to that, he was the head of product at Indian e-commerce site Flipkart.

Coinbase has hired a former vice president of product at Google to be its chief product officer.

Chatterjee is Coinbase’s first chief product officer since the departure of Jeremy Henrickson in December 2018, the company confirmed.

In his new role Chatterjee will focus on “making the cryptoeconomy accessible to millions more people through Coinbase’s suite of products”, CEO Brian Armstrong said in a statement.

Last November, the exchange added support for five new crypto options to its Visa debit card and began allowing users to earn rewards on their cryptocurrency holdings, starting with the Tezos token.

For his part, Chatterjee became passionate about separating money from the state after growing up in India under government-run banks and seeing the Indian government switch over to new currencies in November 2016, requiring the entire population to either use a bank or a post office to convert their cash. Currently, the Indian government has blocked banks from dealing with the crypto industry but hasn’t outlawed the use of cryptocurrencies themselves.

“I don’t think crypto is the end-all be-all of our problems, but it’s a big piece of the puzzle”, Chatterjee said. “Coinbase will revolutionize global financial services in the same way that Google revolutionized the internet.”

In a blog post shared with CoinDesk in advance, Coinbase CEO Brian Amstrong said, “Surojit’s 11 years at Google will be valuable as we continue to scale Coinbase into a company with a lasting and meaningful impact on the world’s financial system.”

Coinbase in Talks to Acquire Rental Startup Omni’s Engineering Staff

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is said to be in talks to acquire the human assets of Omni, a Ripple-backed rental and storage firm.

According to a report from TechCrunch this weekend, Coinbase may grab Omni’s engineering team to further develop its Coinbase Earn product. Coinbase told the tech news site no deal is on the table currently, however.

The acquisition comes amidst layoffs for the rental company, which let seven members of its operations staff go last week. The engineering team has also received interest from Thumbtack, a marketplace for professional services. TechCrunch said the engineers are already interviewing at Coinbase.

Last year, Omni raised $25 million in a funding round led by Ripple executives Stefan Thomas and Chris Larsen, who invested an undisclosed amount of XRP. TechCrunch says Omni was recently looking into launching a rental product for brick-and-mortar stores.

Coinbase Earn customers earn small amounts of cryptocurrency while learning about the different coin’s fundamentals and use-cases. As of now, users in over 100 countries can make up to $130 completing classes and quizzes on cryptoassets. Dai, EOS, stellar lumens, zcash, the basic attention token, and 0x are currently listed on Coinbase Earn.

Coinbase did not respond to a CoinDesk request for comment by press time.

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