(Bloomberg) -- Coinbase Global Inc. has hired Daniel Seifert, a senior executive from German financial technology company Solarisbank AG, to lead its European expansion while contending with a protracted downturn in cryptocurrency markets and trading.

Seifert will join the San Francisco-based crypto exchange as regional managing director in Europe after serving for more than two years as chief operating officer for Solarisbank, the company said in a statement. Coinbase plans to fill core roles on the continent and has recently secured regulatory registration in Italy and the Netherlands, according to the firm’s vice president of international and business development Nana Murugesan. 

“International expansion is an existential priority for us,” Murugesan said in an interview. “Whether it’s a bull market or bear market, that’s where most of our upside is.”


Murugesan said Coinbase intends to expand its services to France and Spain next year pending regulatory approvals. Beyond existing payment licenses, the firm is also seeking registration and holding discussions in Ireland and the UK about joining the countries’ respective cryptoasset regulatory regimes. 

Like other crypto exchanges, Coinbase has suffered a drop in trading volumes and revenues, caused by a rout in digital-asset prices. The company laid off almost a fifth of its staff earlier this year, while its shares are down more than 70% in the last year.

Read more: Coinbase Renews Overseas Expansion Plan After Cutting US Staff

Seifert’s hiring comes as executives at the top of several major crypto firms have either resigned or shifted from their roles, creating a changing of the guard as the sector weathers the prolonged bear market. Kraken, OpenSea, Genesis and Alameda Research are among the companies that have seen significant leadership changes in the last two months.

Murugesan said Coinbase was hiring in a “very focused way,” having begun the hunt for Seifert’s position early this year as the bear-market period set in. “We’ve been watching all this turnover -- it has been surprising to see at this level.”

In June, the European Union reached a provisional agreement on its landmark Markets in Cryptoassets (MiCA) directive, bringing years of debate on how to regulate the digital-asset industry to an informal close. Murugesan said that Coinbase welcomed the bloc-wide approach. 

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