Uphold is a regulated business. That means we have to follow a lot of very specific rules and codes of conduct set by financial regulators. Have you ever wondered who’s behind the curtain ensuring that we comply with these regulators? Meet Karin, our Chief of Staff, Compliance.
What do you do at Uphold?
I’m Uphold’s Chief of Staff, Compliance; however, I was initially brought in to support Uphold’s efforts to protect the company and our customers from all sorts of financial crime. My team ensures that the company complies with all applicable laws and regulations related to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. As a regulated business we have to follow a lot of very specific rules and codes of conduct. In the US, we are a Money Services Business registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). In the UK we’re registered with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and in the Seychelles with the FSA (Financial Services Authority). Therefore, it’s our duty to ensure that we’re following all the relevant laws. We also work closely with banking and industry partners as well as law enforcement agencies to investigate and report suspicious activity.
What does your day to day look like?
I’ve been at Uphold almost 2 years and my role has changed and evolved quite significantly. Nowadays, I work with leaders in the compliance department and the wider business to develop and strengthen our compliance controls and programs. I also support the operational teams where needed and regularly liaise with regulators and law enforcement agencies as well as investigate and report suspicious activity.
What is the single most valuable thing you learned at Uphold?
Working in such a nascent industry has taught me the value of challenging assumptions and creatively applying previous experience while being open to learning new things every day.
What inspired you to work in crypto?
I’ve always worked in E-commerce Fintech and prior to joining Uphold; I followed a few crypto enthusiasts on social media and frequently read them likening the crypto and blockchain space to the early days of the internet. I think that it’s such an intriguing idea – so why not be a part of it? Also, I’d been working in AML/CTF compliance for a while and felt that the crypto world adds a whole new dimension to the job. It seemed like the natural next step.
What company values resonate with you the most?
Transparency and ease of access. I think a lot of people are interested in the world of crypto trading and investing, but it’s difficult knowing where to start. When I first started looking into it years ago, I remember coming across intimidating-looking crypto trading dashboards online and not knowing what exactly I was looking at. I feel the Uphold app’s sleek and intuitive UI makes it easy for anyone to pop a fiver into the app, trade it into Bitcoin and watch it grow (hopefully!).
What’s the biggest challenge that you think Uphold is facing right now?
The previous interviewees for this blog series mentioned growth and scaling, which are certainly challenges we’re working hard to manage at the moment. Another challenge that’s keeping us busy is ongoing global regulatory developments. As it becomes more mainstream, the cryptocurrency industry comes under more and more scrutiny by the world’s governments and regulators. As a compliance professional I definitely understand the need for this, but it certainly keeps us on our toes!
What’s a fun fact about you that would surprise us?
Since my niece’s 2nd birthday, I have used Uphold’s repeat transaction feature to invest €10 each into BTC and UPXAU (Universal Gold) on her behalf every month. I figured that, in addition to Bitcoin, it would make sense to invest in something with a bit more predictability for her.