Crypto expert Jake Chervinsky leaves trade group

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Crypto expert Jake Chervinsky leaves trade group

Jake Chervinsky, a dedicated crypto expert, is a rare breed in the cryptocurrency industry, a determined believer of blockchain technology who is realistic about its limits and able to communicate in a simple, unfussy language. Crypto Twitter, a hurly-burly network that serves as an intermediary for legal and regulatory news, is regarded as a must-follow.

In an interview with Fortune, Chervinsky said his decision to leave the trade group after nearly two years was completely amicable and that he wants to devote his time to helping crypto companies launch products in the U.S., a challenging task given the hostile regulatory environment.

'' It is no way to succeed globally if you can't use the U.S. market,'' he said, dismissing recent avowals by crypto firms to move overseas as impractical.

Chervinsky says he became passionate about crypto after doing anti-money laundering work at a big law firm and concluded that much of the financial industry is about rent-seeking rather than providing good services. He cited his work in helping crypto firms navigate the regulatory backlash from the initial coin offering boom, a period from 2016 to 2018 where blockchain projects, many of which were shady, sold digital tokens to the general public, as spurring him to go into crypto full time.

Chervinsky also referred to a conversation with Robert Leshner, founder of pioneering DeFi firm Compound, as inspiring his belief that blockchain offers a superior new system for financial transactions.

The adoption of Chervinsky, who was unlikely to have come cheap, is also a bold gesture by Variant, a relative newcomer to the crypto industry. The company, founded in 2020 by young alums of Andreessen Horowitz, has raised more than $600 million in three funds, seeking to differentiate itself with a focus on the creative economy and a focus on early stage companies. Its 30 or so portfolio companies include DeFi giant Uniswap as well as NFT shops Magic Eden and Zora.

Variant has added Chervinsky to its 18-person team as a 'force multiplier' who can assist its portfolio firms develop legal strategies to launch products amid choppy regulatory waters, Walden said. He added that the legal clouds over the industry are starting to lift as the policies of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler get slapped down in federal court, and predicted that discussions around crypto will once again come to be centered around products-not lawsuits.