crypto strategy

Sky Mavis taps Robinhood Compliance Exec as first chief legal officer

Sky Mavis Inc., a non-fungible token-focused startup reeling from a massive hack earlier this year, has hired its first-ever general counsel in James Nguyen of Robinhood Markets Inc.

Nguyen, who will lead the Vietnamese company’s legal and regulatory affairs, was most recently general counsel and chief compliance officer for Robinhood’s cryptocurrency unit. Robinhood, which in August cut 23% of its workforce, declined to discuss Nguyen’s exit or replacement.

Sky Mavis has confirmed Nguyen’s hire. The company also faced headwinds this year.

Hackers get away with about $600 million in the Sky Mavis digital money stored in Axie Infinity, a online video game popular with cryptocurrency traders. The company has pledged to reimburse gamers who lost funds in the hack and raised $150 million to stem a series of user defections following the breach.

Bloomberg News reported last year that Sky Mavis had peaked $3 billion valuation thanks to Axie Infinity, which allows users to trade and earn cryptocurrencies.

Nguyen, who is fluent in Vietnamese, was a “longtime leader of the Robinhood team responsible for building, growing and expanding the cryptocurrency business and its products,” Sky Mavis said. in a statement Thursday.

Trung Nguyen, a coder-turned-CEO and co-founder of Sky Mavis, said in a statement that the company’s new senior counsel would be a “key asset” because of his experience in cryptocurrency and the blockchain.

James Nguyen did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his new role.

Hack fallout

CEO Trung Nguyen reportedly moved about $3 million in Axie Infinity’s main token, AXS, before the company revealed it was hacked. Sky Mavis told Bloomberg News in July that its chief executive and co-founder did so to boost the company’s finances during a critical period after the hack.

A company spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on whether Sky Mavis hired outside legal counsel for the Axie Infinity hack.

Its new chief legal officer is now responsible for helping Sky Mavis establish a legal department for its global business and operations. He will also help the company navigate an evolving legal and regulatory environment for projects like Axie Infinity.

“Sky Mavis has already demonstrated the promise of how a decentralized future can bring people together to disrupt outdated gaming models and improve the way we play and interact with each other,” James Nguyen said in a statement. the society.

Sky Mavis said Nguyen led the legal and regulatory strategy for Robinhood’s “early efforts to explore and obtain a national banking license and launch a banking business”, as well as his former employer’s more recent bid to start a business. national payment service to Robinhood Money.

Nguyen spent three years as a senior attorney at Wells Fargo & Co. in San Francisco after beginning his legal career as an associate at Morrison & Foerster in Washington. He joined Robinhood in 2018 and later served as president of the company’s cryptocurrency business, where he took over as general counsel and chief compliance officer this year following Benjamin’s departure. Melnicki.

Nicole Trudeau, former general counsel at cryptocurrency exchange Cex.io Ltd., joined Robinhood over the summer as director and associate general counsel. Trudeau, whose LinkedIn profile identifies him as chief legal officer of Robinhood’s cryptocurrency unit, did not respond to a request for comment.

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