PayPal-Backed Blockchain Analytics Firm Hires Former US Treasury Adviser

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Blockchain analytics firm TRM Labs has appointed former U.S. Treasury and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) heavyweight Ari Redbord to help build the firm’s risk-based anti-money laundering (AML) programs for cryptocurrency and digital assets.

Redbord joins TRM Labs as the company’s head of legal and government affairs. At Treasury, he served as a senior adviser to the under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. His resume also includes stints at FinCEN and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in areas related to cryptocurrency. 

Blockchain analytics is a hot space with the likes of Chainalysis tying up with law enforcement, Elliptic forensically following illicit money around the crypto ecosystem and CipherTrace building “travel rule” solutions and monitoring crypto compliance regimes. 

So does the hire of Redbord mean TRM Labs is positioning itself alongside government crime-fighting agencies and law enforcement? 

“I don’t think the focus will just be on the long arm of the law,” said Redbord. “Actually, I think in a way it’s quite the opposite, because a company like TRM allows for less regulation, quite frankly, by allowing governments around the world to be more comfortable that they are able to identify suspicious activity and get those bad actors out of this.”

The analytics firm’s data insights can be applied evenly to three different segments, said Esteban Castaño, TRM’s co-founder and CEO. Those are government organizations, including regulatory and law enforcement, cryptocurrency businesses and traditional financial institutions that may not custody crypto directly, but are exposed to the cryptocurrency risk, he said.

“It maybe goes against traditional startup wisdom to serve different types of customers, but we can deliver insights around the risk of an individual address and individual transaction or a cryptocurrency business as a whole,” said Castaño.

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Founded in 2018, TRM is backed by PayPal, Initialized Capital, Blockchain Capital and Y Combinator. 

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