British ex-finance minister Osborne joins Coinbase as adviser

FILE PHOTO: Wimbledon
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LONDON (Reuters) - George Osborne, Britain's former finance minister, has joined Coinbase Global's advisory council, the cryptocurrency business said on Wednesday, as the exchange tries to grow internationally amid U.S. regulatory pressures.

Osborne, 52, was finance minister from 2010 until he lost his job after the 2016 Brexit referendum. He later went on to edit a London newspaper and is currently a partner at boutique investment bank Robey Warshaw as well as being chair of the British Museum.

"There's a huge amount of exciting innovation in finance right now. Blockchains are transforming financial markets and online transactions. Coinbase is at the frontier of these developments," Osborne said in a statement.

Faryar Shirzad, Chief Policy Officer at Coinbase, said the firm would rely on Osborne's "insights and experiences as we grow Coinbase around the world."

Coinbase, the world's largest publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange, was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging it is flouting its rules.

The SEC said in June that the firm facilitated trading of at least 13 crypto tokens, including Solana, Cardano and Polygon, which it said should have been registered as securities.

Coinbase has argued that crypto assets, unlike stocks and bonds, do not meet that definition of an investment contract, a position held by the vast majority of the crypto industry.

The firm has asked a U.S. court to dismiss the lawsuit, with the judge hearing arguments from both sides in January.

Coinbase has been expanding internationally and recently secured several licences to operate digital currency services overseas, including in France in December, as well as in Spain, Singapore, and Bermuda.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase went public in 2021 but has since lost more than half its value.

(Reporting by Tommy Reggiori Wilkes; editing by David Evans)