Brian Brooks is currently the CEO of Binance.US, but prior to that, he served in government and in the standard financial space.
Brian Brooks Has Carved Out a Serious Crypto Career
Before his position with the exchange, Brooks was the acting comptroller of the Currency at the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). He has also worked with Coinbase. In a recent interview, Brooks discussed what it was that drew him to the crypto market. He says:
For me, crypto was an extension of fintech, which I figured out first having spent my career in banking. The journey for me was that banks and mortgage companies and the like are incredibly antiquated in their technology platforms. The promise of fintech was to significantly improve those platforms through use of APIs, automated processing, straight through processing and things like that. I was seeing fintech that could improve the functioning of banks by 20 percent, 30 percent, and 40 percent, which seemed amazing to me. Then, when a friend of mine became CFO of Coinbase, I really started deeply looking at crypto. I read books and realized that the challenge was not to make the system incrementally better, but that it was fundamentally broken. The promise of crypto is to change the system. The whole idea is to replace centralized architectures that are brittle and closed with decentralized architectures that are flexible and resilient.
Not long before his position as acting comptroller, he was the chief legal officer of Coinbase. During his time there, Brooks says his crypto education increased tenfold. Discussing his time with the company, he mentions:
I probably learned more at Coinbase than any other single place I’ve ever worked, starting with the way that tech startups operate and how they are different from legacy institutions. By this I mean the need to make quick decisions with imperfect information, the need to ship products even in a world where the product might not be ready, and the lesson that a good idea at the wrong time is a bad idea. I also learned about the importance of culture and unit cohesion. One thing that Brian Armstrong (Coinbase CEO) is very good at is creating a culture inside of a leadership team. Coming from the east coast, I thought a lot of that stuff was touchy-feeling nonsense, but I don’t think that anymore, and I hope to replicate a lot of that at Binance.US.
A Chance to Work with Trump
He says that it was a very hard decision to leave Coinbase, but that working as the active comptroller would give him a chance to serve under President Donald Trump, and he remembers learning from a young age that when the President calls, you answer. He says:
I had been recruited for a whole bunch of different roles in the Trump administration, and my close personal friend (Steve Mnuchin) was the Secretary of the Treasury.