Robinhood Crypto Unit’s General Counsel leaves to join company behind ‘Axie Infinity’ video game

Senior Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Robinhood Markets Inc.

The cryptocurrency trading unit left online brokerage to join crypto startup Sky Mavis Pte. Ltd., the publisher of the popular online game “Axie Infinity”.

James Nguyen, who also previously worked at Wells Fargo & Co. and the law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP, is now Sky Mavis’ general counsel, the company announced on Twitter on Thursday. A Robinhood spokeswoman confirmed Mr Nguyen’s departure but declined to comment further.

Mr Nguyen’s departure was the latest personnel change at Robinhood, which has cut more than 1,000 jobs in two rounds of layoffs so far this year as it continues to suffer from a sharp economic downturn. business activity of customers.

Mr. Nguyen has served as general counsel and chief compliance officer for Robinhood’s crypto unit since late last year, when his predecessor, Benjamin Melnicki, left after a few months on the job to join Cross River Bank. Mr. Nguyen was previously Chairman of Robinhood Crypto LLC.

Mr. Nguyen signed Robinhood Crypto’s settlement agreement on behalf of the company with the New York State Department of Financial Services in July. The state financial regulator announced in August that it had fined the unit $30 million for alleged violations of anti-money laundering and cybersecurity regulations.

Sky Mavis said in the tweet that Mr. Nguyen will help design and execute his strategies around new legal issues presented by Web3, the idea of ​​a decentralized internet that uses blockchain and other technologies.

“Axie Infinity”, launched in 2018, is one of a small but rapidly growing number of so-called “play-to-earn” games. Also known as blockchain games, they largely focus on buying, trading, and selling virtual assets backed by non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The games are seen as a first foray into the metaverse, a more immersive future version of the internet where people are meant to work, learn and play.

The move comes after Sky Mavis said in March that hackers stole more than $500 million worth of cryptocurrency from its flagship “Axie Infinity.” Some of the funds lost in the hack have since been recovered by US authorities, investigators said. The company also raised $150 million in April to help reimburse victims of the attack.

Write to Mengqi Sun at mengqi[email protected]

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