A Google executive from India has joined Coinbase as the new chief product officer after 11 years at Google. He aims to help Coinbase make cryptocurrency mainstream. “I am excited about what crypto and blockchain technology can do to democratize our financial systems,” the executive said, citing his experience growing up in India and the trauma of demonetization.
From Google and Flipkart to Coinbase
Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong announced on Wednesday that Surojit Chatterjee is joining the company as the new chief product officer. He is leaving his position as Vice President of Product at Google, where he led Google Shopping, which helps people discover and compare products on the internet giant’s website. He was also a founding member of Google’s mobile search ads product. Prior to joining Google, Chatterjee was the Head of Product at Flipkart, a popular Indian e-commerce site. Armstrong wrote:
Today we’re announcing that Surojit Chatterjee is joining Coinbase as our new Chief Product Officer after spending 11 years at Google.
Surojit Chatterjee (left) and Brian Armstrong
Noting that the Google executive will assume his role at Coinbase on Monday, Reuters conveyed:
Chatterjee will aim to make cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum, mainstream and easy options for paying for goods and services, especially in cross-border transactions.
Armstrong told Techcrunch publication that Chatterjee will help the company “organize its complex array of products, including its cryptocurrency exchange, wallet, stablecoin, incentivized crypto education platform Earn and Coinbase Commerce that lets businesses take payments in bitcoin, ethereum and more.”
Experience From India and How Crypto Can Better Financial Systems
In a Medium post published on Wednesday, Chatterjee shared his thoughts about his decision to exit Google and join Coinbase. “I’ve always enjoyed being associated with technology that is on the brink of changing how we live. Google ads has helped democratize commerce, Flipkart and e-commerce has revolutionized life in India, and I believe Coinbase is going to turn conventional finance on its head,” he opined.
The executive explained that working on mobile ads at Google and mobile commerce at Flipkart has helped him understand the profound impact smartphones have to enable commerce in more places. He then shared two memories. The first was observing very closely what a lack of liquid cash does to a family’s lifestyle, noting that he grew up in a poor, middle-class household in India and his dad still lives in a remote village in the country. The second was the demonization experience in November 2016. “The lines at the bank snaked around blocks. ATMs ran out of cash. The daily limit was hardly enough for an average family of four to function normally,” he recalled.
A long line at ICICI Bank in Delhi, India, after the demonetization announcement in 2016.
After that, he began to really think about the limitations of the current financial system. “As an immigrant who migrated to the U.S. more than two decades ago, I have personally felt the complexity and inefficiency of sending money to my parents. The situation isn’t too much better today,” the Google executive noted, adding:
I am excited about what crypto and blockchain technology can do to democratize our financial systems.
While noting that cryptocurrency and its technology can help the internet become less centralized, he emphasized: “But most importantly, it’ll help 1.7B of the world’s unbanked population transact and avail financial services using their smartphones.” Chatterjee added, “This is why I am inspired by Brian’s vision to create ‘economic freedom for everyone’ and excited to be a part of the Coinbase journey.”
Google recently came under fire in the crypto community when its subsidiary Youtube removed some crypto-related videos. Youtube later said it was a mistake and restored them. In addition, Google suspended the Ethereum Android app Metamask from its play store, citing its policy that bans mining on mobile. However, the company later backtracked on its ban and restored the app.
Coinbase Custody Goes International
On Wednesday, Coinbase also announced the launch of Coinbase Custody International Ltd. The company will now offer its institutional-grade crypto asset storage to clients throughout Europe via its regional base of operations in Dublin, Ireland. The company detailed:
Our international launch is aimed to meet the demands of institutional investors in Europe and beyond. Europe is our fastest growing geographic segment and our international launch is a direct result of client demand.
The company explained that Coinbase Custody has served European-based clients in the U.K., Switzerland, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and more since 2018. “Our dedicated presence in Europe will allow us to offer these services in a completely localized way, with local staff, localized SLAs [service level agreements] and in compliance with local laws.”
With over $7 billion in assets currently under custody, and just under $1 billion of that belonging to non-U.S. clients, Coinbase said that it plans to support more assets and launch new features over the coming months. The company is regulated in New York as a chartered custodian. Coinbase Custody CEO Sam McIngvale told CNBC on Wednesday that the company “absolutely” intends to secure a license in Europe.
What do you think of the Google executive joining Coinbase? Let us know in the comments section below.
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