Each month in our Eight Questions series, we profile individual members of the Anchorage Digital team. This month, we’re highlighting four talented women leaders helping us set forward a regulated, innovative path in digital assets.
We’ll stick with the traditional eight total questions because it’s the number of decimal places a bitcoin can be divided into.
Introducing Georgia Quinn, General Counsel
Georgia Quinn is the general counsel of Anchorage Digital. She is a member of the Blockchain Association board, the TechGC Executive Board, and co-founder of iDisclose (now LawCloud). Georgia holds a JD from Columbia Law School, and in her free time (of which she has none), she enjoys spending time with family and friends, jazz and wine.
- Tell us more about the why. Why did you, in particular, early on see and recognize the opportunity around a federal charter versus sticking with our South Dakota state charter? Why go federal?
We owe a lot to our South Dakota roots and still have offices there, but it became apparent that in order to participate on the global scale we needed a federal banking charter. Crypto does not stop at state borders, nor could our regulatory structure. The three main motivations for the conversion were:
- Operational efficiency. Not only did we have to analyze various regulations in all 50 states and territories, but many state regulations actually conflict with one another, so we gain operational efficiency with a federal charter that gives us the ability to operate nationally.
- Being an unequivocal qualified custodian. Our institutional clients need the security of working with an unequivocal qualified custodian, and by being a federally chartered bank, we meet the SEC’s black letter definition.
- On par with our clients. Our clients are some of the most heavily regulated financial institutions in the world. To be able to say we are regulated at the same level or as they are, gives them comfort in using us as a service provider.
So those were the business reasons that motivated our pursuit of the federal charter, but on a very personal level, I wanted to do something that had never been done and pioneer a regulatory path for crypto to exist in the mainstream financial framework. And as a company, we want to pave the way for other crypto banks.
2. We’re seeing regulatory crackdown on staking-as-a-service. Why did we cover staking as a fiduciary service through client vaults, as opposed to this method?
Our company is founded on secure custody. In fact, it is Anchorage Digital’s superior security technology that attracted me to the company in the first place. With security as the bedrock, we seek to provide all services from a client’s segregated vault. Our technology has no need for pooling assets or commingling funds to allow our clients to participate in on-chain activities such as governance and staking. We use the features of blockchain technology such as transparency and physical separation to enhance the client experience.
This kind of strategic design — combining security-first operations and safe, compliant principles from the blueprint of traditional finance — is what makes Anchorage Digital a responsible partner for institutions.
Introducing Rachel Anderika, Chief Operating Officer, Anchorage Digital Bank
Rachel Anderika will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer of Anchorage Digital Bank, pending supervisory non-objection, after previously serving as Chief Risk Officer. She previously served nearly a decade as National Bank Examiner at the OCC and as a member of bank consulting firm, Promontory Financial Group. Rachel lives in Connecticut and enjoys boating with her family.
3. Since you carry experience as a regulator and consultant before joining Anchorage Digital, are there times when your former-regulator brain argues with your tech-employee brain?
Before formally joining Anchorage Digital, I served in an advisory capacity, and first hearing about the company’s plans to get a federal charter really intrigued me. Thinking from my regulator-mindset, it really stretched my imagination, for lack of better words, yet, here was a committed, problem-solving team that was able to make a digital assets charter, and all the compliance commitments involved something scalable.
Today, my tech employee brain and former regulator brain act as one in figuring out how to bridge the communication gap between a new technology and existing banking law. I can’t think of another company that meets the needs of a changing ecosystem within the OCC’s parameters, so the opportunity to build the compliance infrastructure that bridges these two worlds is so rewarding. What’s really rewarding about being at a tech company is that this can be done in a handful of months. This pace challenges everything I learned in my prior experience as a regulator, and it speaks to the talent and creativity here.
4. Anchorage Digital is the only crypto company currently operating under supervision from the OCC, and it’s the OCC’s first time to regulate a crypto company providing custody, staking, and governance participation in blockchain protocols. What have been some of the most interesting learnings to make a crypto company compliant?
We are breaking new ground in many ways, but what’s interesting is not just the differences between compliance at a crypto company compared with traditional finance, but the similarities. The governance structures of traditional banks, and risk management, apply to what we do at Anchorage Digital Bank. For instance, although the way risk types manifest in our asset class might be a little different, you could overlay our risk taxonomy with that of any other large bank and it would line up pretty similarly. When I was an examiner, I’d apply the same set of questions to almost any situation. Now, on the other side of those questions, I help make sure we share the framework of how we comply and assess risk.
Introducing Julie Veltman, Head of Finance
Julie Veltman is Anchorage Digital’s Head of Finance. She is a licensed CFA, and previously led the Infrastructure Finance team at Salesforce. Julie lives in California with her two daughters, and is passionate about the potential of blockchain technology to shape the evolution of financial services.
5. You were previously with large, mature companies. What made you want to join a company in growth mode?
I’m a builder at heart and have always gravitated toward roles where I can continuously learn and create something new. Anchorage Digital aligned well with the trajectory I’ve had of seeking out challenge and impact. When I left Merrill Lynch, I intentionally joined a boutique investment firm where I was able to build out a successful capital markets function. My background in financial services and technology make my role at Anchorage Digital a unique fit, while the evolving asset class and applications present interesting challenges and opportunities that make me excited to come to work every day.
6. From your decades-long experience in financial services, what is unique about working in digital assets?
No two days are the same.
The digital assets landscape requires a high degree of cross-functional collaboration, internally and externally. Every blockchain operates a little bit differently, and even “traditional” accounting functions require different operational setup. My team is involved in every single workflow at Anchorage Digital, from current products and initiatives to helping inform our strategic roadmap. In addition to working cross-functionally internally, we work with other industry participants, including audit firms, tax firms, clients, vendors, and others in the space, to share — and create — best practices. The support and camaraderie I’ve seen from other participants in the digital asset space make me very proud to be a part of this industry.
Introducing Camilla Churcher, Head of Sales
Camilla is Anchorage Digital’s Head of Sales. She holds nearly two decades of experience in the financial services industry, having begun her career in traditional banking before moving into blockchain in 2019. Camilla is passionate about utilizing financial technologies in novel ways, and, outside of work, she likes to run marathons and spend time with her family.
7. What were you most excited about in coming to the world of digital assets from traditional finance?
Blockchain struck me as the important next phase, not just as a novel asset class, but as the next iteration of finance itself.
Digitizing finance means fundamentally improving the same operational architecture I’ve known over my long tenure in prime brokerage. It simply hasn’t changed much, where blockchain offers the opportunity to reduce settlement time between counterparties in ways we’ve not yet seen. It’s compelling to help Anchorage Digital’s institutional clients make that transition.
8. Fitting marathon training into a busy life isn’t for the faint of heart! How does distance running complement your career and family life?
When you work remotely, you have to look out for your health and fitness. Running is my font for creativity, a quiet time where I can think and work through issues. I do some of my best work when I’m back from a run. I’ve found it takes discipline to budget time for things like this. One of the best things about Anchorage Digital is the flexibility to set my own schedule, and the culture encourages people to develop their own hobbies and interests. Being able to bring my whole self to work provides invaluable balance.
Interested in joining Anchorage Digital and shaping the future of the company? Anchorage Digital is hiring for a variety of roles. Check our job opportunities here.
Anchorage Digital endeavors to provide accurate information through its communication, but cannot guarantee all content is correct, or updated. “Anchorage Digital” refers to services that are offered through Anchorage Hold, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and registered Money Services Business, Anchorage Digital Bank National Association, an OCC-chartered national trust bank, Anchorage Lending CA LLC, or Anchorage Digital Singapore Pte Ltd, a Singapore private limited company, all wholly-owned subsidiaries of Anchor Labs, Inc., a Delaware corporation.
Anchorage Digital does not engage in the trading, offer, or sale of securities and does not provide legal, tax, or investment advice.