A man uses a Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

INTERNATIONAL – Coinbase, one of the largest US crypto exchanges, is losing its policy head at a time when communication between Washington and the digital money sector may never be more important.

Michael Lempres, who was named the firm’s policy officer in September after serving more than a year as its legal chief, is leaving to take on a new role at Andreessen Horowitz, according to a statement from the closely held exchange. 

The venture capital firm was an early investor in Coinbase.

“As chief legal and risk officer during a time of tremendous growth for Coinbase, Mike was instrumental in building the company’s legal and compliance functions and driving our vision of trust through compliance,” the San Francisco-based company said in an email to Bloomberg News. “We wish him the best in his new position with Andreessen Horowitz.”

Lempres transitioned to his policy role when the cryptocurrency exchange brought on Brian Brooks to head its legal department. 

People familiar with the matter say Lempres decided to leave when the firm hired Brooks, who took over most of his responsibilities. Brooks will be in charge of policy efforts as US regulators decide how best to oversee the still-developing market.

Bloomberg