search newsletter login upgrade

Coinbase is looking to tap into a red-hot crypto service with a new hire

by Frank Chaparro

March 4, 2019, 10:54AM EDT  ·  2 min read

Quick Take

  • Coinbase has hired Luke Youngblood, formerly a principal solutions architect at Amazon Web Services
  • Youngblood will build out new staking and governance solutions

by Frank Chaparro

March 4, 2019, 10:54AM EDT  ·  2 min read

Coinbase, the San Francisco cryptocurrency exchange operator, is looking to break into a red-hot corner of the digital asset world with a new hire, according to a memo sent out to clients last week. 

Luke Youngblood, formerly a principal solutions architect at Amazon Web Services, has joined the Coinbase team to build out products tied to staking and governance, the memo said. “These new products will provide Coinbase Custody clients with the ability to interact seamlessly with crypto-networks while maintaining the upmost security of their assets in Custody,” the memo read in part. 

So-called “Mining 2.0” strategies have increased in popularity among crypto hedge funds as such firms look for new ways to make money in the bear market. These strategies aim to squeeze alpha through active participation in crypto-networks with wide-ranging opportunities, including staking, providing validation services, or provisioning resources (e.g. compute power) directly to decentralized networks.

Youngblood, who worked at Amazon for nearly three years, previously held positions at numerous tech firms as an engineer as well as crypto network Tezos.

“Luke is the founder and CEO of Blockscale, an early pioneer of blockchain and crypto technologies. In 2018, he helped launch the Tezos network by creating the staking infrastructure for the Tezos Foundation, becoming the largest decentralized proof of stake validator in the world overnight.”

Investors can earn extra yield on certain types of digital assets that run on proof-of-stake networks. In such networks, investors can “stake” their coins in order to receive a payout when the network gives out block rewards. Still, staking provides a number of technical headaches for investors, including having to run multiple servers and 24/7 monitoring to maintain those servers. 

Elsewhere in the market, startup firm Staked offers services to help investors capitalize on staking. The firm raised $4.5 million earlier this year. Pantera led the raise, but other investors included Coinbase Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Winklevoss Capital, and Fabric Ventures.