Bitfury Hires Former Binance US Chief Brian Brooks As CEO
Former Binance US CEO Brian Brooks has been named CEO of Bitfury, putting the former financial regulator in charge of one of the world’s largest crypto mining companies at a time when the industry is booming.
Brooks will succeed Bitfury creator Valery Vavilov, who will become the company’s “chief vision officer” in charge of new project development.
The Amsterdam-based firm’s hire comes after China outlawed cryptocurrency mining, an energy-intensive technique for creating new digital tokens, earlier this year. International corporations who stepped in to cover the capacity shortfall reaped a bonanza as a result of the shift.
Bitfury was created in 2011 by Latvian-born Vavilov as a bitcoin mining operation, but he has since expanded the company to encompass infrastructure projects such as data centre operations, computer chips, and crypto software development.
Brooks has joined Bitfury after abruptly leaving Binance US in August after only three months on the job. Binance US is a subsidiary of the massive Binance cryptocurrency exchange, which has come under fire from important regulators all around the world.
Brooks told the Financial Times that he was “very sure” that his time at Bitfury will last longer than his previous company, and that he expected to “gel better” with Vavilov.
“The exchange industry is currently successful, but it isn’t always where innovation happens,” Brooks said, adding that Bitfury had an advantage because it was the only mining chip manufacturer outside of China.
Brooks, who served as acting head of the US banking regulator the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency until January, was described by Vavilov as an “instant energy fit.” He had previously served as the chief legal officer of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
Concerns have been raised concerning bitcoin mining’s negative influence on the environment. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the industry utilises somewhat more electricity than the Netherlands and slightly less than the United Arab Emirates.
“Bitcoin miners are perceived as posing an environmental hazard,” Brooks admitted. He did say, though, that Bitfury had taken steps to decrease the industry’s climate impact. Bitfury, for example, developed a solution to improve the efficiency of cooling computers and data centres, lowering the activity’s environmental impact.
Bitfury is gearing up for a fundraising round as it aims to construct new mining centres throughout the world, so the rearrangement at the top comes at a good time. At its 2018 funding round, the company was valued at $1 billion, a sum that could be surpassed this time. In an agreement to merge with a blank-cheque firm, Core Scientific, another crypto mining and data centre specialist, was recently valued at $4.3 billion, including net debt.
“We’re considering venture money as well as [a stock market] listing.” The venture capital market is currently quite favourable, so we’ll probably go that path, but we’re exploring both options,” Brooks added.