BlockFi Inc., a cryptocurrency lender funded by billionaire Peter Thiel and internet entrepreneurs the Winklevoss twins, has welcomed aboard a new top lawyer as it continues to search for a CFO.
Jonathan Mayers, who spent the past decade as an in-house lawyer at hedge fund Renaissance Technologies LLC, joined BlockFi earlier this month as its first-ever general counsel. Mayers is the latest in a string of lawyers hired in the cryptocurrency and digital asset management sector, which is ramping up its legal and compliance capabilities in an effort to legitimize itself among regulators and traditional financial services institutions.
“As the space continues to mature, we’ll need a firm regulatory structure more analogous to that of traditional finance to ensure capital can move through the crypto ecosystem safely and ethically,” BlockFi co-founder and CEO Zac Prince said in a statement announcing Mayers’ hire. “Jonathan brings a trove of experience from some of the most recognized names in finance to help us continue to do so.”
Launched in August 2017, Jersey City, N.J.-based BlockFi operates a cryptocurrency trading and lending platform that is poised to generate $50 million in revenue this year, according to the company, which began searching for an in-house legal chief in May.
Mayers said in an interview that he couldn’t pass up the “tantalizing opportunity” to get involved “almost at the ground level” in a company operating in the cryptocurrency arena. The Covid-19 pandemic has not only contributed to a spike in hiring, but created an increased appetite for digital assets as more traditional investments falter, Mayers said.
Mayers spent four years in-house at banking giants
While Cape Springs remains a going concern, Mayers told Bloomberg Law that since joining BlockFi two weeks ago he’s been busy getting up to speed on the legal and compliance framework at his new employer. The company in February raised $30 million in a second found of fundraising led by Thiel-backed venture capital firm Valar Ventures LLC.
Betting on BlockFi
Thiel, a former associate at Sullivan & Cromwell, has roots in South Africa, where Mayers was born and raised. But it was BlockFi chief risk officer Rene van Kesteren who Mayers said recruited him to the company.
Bloomberg News has reported that BlockFi’s backers include Winklevoss Capital Management LLC, the family office of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, best known for their legal battle with