Brokerage platform Robinhood has appointed Johann Kerbrat, who joined the company as head of crypto engineering earlier this year, as its new chief technology officer (CTO) to oversee its growing engineering team.
The announcement coincides with Robinhood Crypto also hiring Benjamin Melnicki as its new chief compliance officer. Melnicki, who was most recently chief compliance officer at digital asset manager Grayscale Investments, joins Robinhood at a time when its crypto arm is dealing with a degree of regulatory scrutiny. (Grayscale and CoinDesk share a parent company, Digital Currency Group.)
Robinhood’s S-1 filing for its public listing in July revealed that it expected to pay a $30 million fine to the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) following a 2020 investigation related to anti-money laundering and cybersecurity issues pertaining to its crypto division.
Robinhood’s crypto engineering team has quadrupled in headcount this year, Kerbrat told CoinDesk. The aim is to double its present size in the next 12 months.
Kerbrat has been involved in crypto for more than a decade having mined his first bitcoin in 2010.
His one cause for regret from his early forays into crypto may be that he bought a domain name for 47 BTC when bitcoin was priced at just a few dollars. At the time of writing, 47 BTC are worth just under $2 million.
Kerbrat previously spent nearly four years across engineering roles at Airbnb and Uber before joining privacy-focused crypto startup Iron Fish in August 2020.
Robinhood aims to improve its trade flow systems and grow its engineering team under Kerbrat’s stewardship.
“We want to really work on the structure to make sure we are efficient and have good velocity,” Kerbrat told CoinDesk. “You may remember last year we had a lot of outages and stability issues, and so a lot of time has been spent on making sure we can remain stable.”
The move comes on the heels of Robinhood announcing that its standalone crypto wallet will be available to all customers by early 2022.
“If you go to any of our Twitter posts, you can see users saying, ‘I want to withdraw my crypto – when are you releasing wallets?’” Robinhood Crypto Chief Operating Officer Christine Brown told CoinDesk earlier this week.