Exchange

Meet Coinbase’s rising stars: Max Branzburg and Dave Farmer

Quick Take

  • Coinbase has seen several big-ticket employees leave
  • The departures have allowed two rising stars to run up the ranks: Max Branzburg and Dave Farmer
  • Here’s what they’re working on 

Coinbase has seen an exodus of senior employees in recent months and that’s allowed two bright-eyed staffers to ascend the firm’s ranks, according to sources at the company. 

Since the beginning of the year, the $8 billion cryptocurrency exchange operator has parted ways with its chief operating officer Asiff Hirji, its chief technology officer Balaji Srinivasan, and its head of institutions Dan Romero, leaving Emilie Choi, who joined the company as a VP of Business Development in March 2018, as COO, its second most powerful employee, after CEO Brian Armstrong. 

But two other staffers also climbed the ranks, described by a several sources as the company’s little-known “rising stars.”

Max Branzburg and Dave Farmer. The two both hold the title director of product, but cover business lines previously overseen by Choi. We caught up with them to learn more about their new seats, what their priorities are for the second half of the year, and how they see their businesses changing in the next 12 months. 

The Block: How have your roles changed over the past six months?

Farmer: About a year ago I became Head of Product for Coinbase Pro and joined the Leadership team. In my first six months, I spent a lot of time on product strategy and building the team. In that time we’ve added support for 20+ assets, expanded to over 100 countries and significantly improved scalability and reliability of the platform (from order entry to matching engine)

Branzburg: I previously led our Corporate Development team, with responsibility for product strategy, M&A, and Ventures investments. Earlier this year, after working closely with many of the product teams in my Corp. Dev. role, I became the Head of Product for Coinbase – our retail-focused consumer investment product. I’m now on the Leadership Team and responsible for strategic direction, product management, and P&L for the consumer business.

The Block: What are your priorities for the second half of 2019?

Farmer: We have three core priorities for 2019: 1) adding assets and countries; 2) adding advanced trading features; 3) building a scalable platform. We’re speaking and listening to customers to understand what the most important features are. The ability to go long, short and hedge are top requests, so we’re looking into the right way to enable those. At the same time we’ll continue to invest in making the platform more scalable and reliable.

Branzburg: We are really happy with how 2019 has kicked off – we’ve made crypto more accessible to many more people around the world by expanding to 103 countries, providing video lessons on individual assets and the ability to earn crypto for learning about it, and bringing customers in countries with volatile currencies a stable store of value in USDC. For the second half of 2019, we’ll continue to double-down on bringing more access to more people around the world, improving the investment experience, and adding more assets to trade.

The Block: Where do you see your businesses in 12 months?

Farmer: More supported assets and regions; new advanced trading features like margin rolled out; more integrated product experience with Custody and our OTC desks.

Branzburg: Coinbase’s mission is to create an open financial system for the world. We’re still early in the journey, but over the next 12 months we expect to enable more people around the world to invest in crypto and get access to the financial services being built in the crypto-economy.