People told me that I was hurting my career joining the Bitcoin industry in 2014 - Linda Xie, Scalar CapitalFeatured
What's the biggest risk you've ever taken in your career and how did you build up the courage to do it?The biggest risk I have taken in my career has been leaving my finance role at AIG in New York to join Coinbase in 2014. At that point, most people had not heard about Bitcoin before and those that did often had a negative perception of it being used for black market activity. While I was grateful to have had the support of my manager and friends who encouraged me to follow my passion, numerous people had tried to talk me out of it saying that I was fortunate to be in a stable role at an established company right out of college and I should remain there longer to get promoted. Some people told me that I was potentially hurting my career joining the Bitcoin industry given there were associations with illicit activity.I had followed Bitcoin since 2011 but back then the reputation was similar in that it wasn’t viewed as very legitimate and not many people had heard about it. Once I became convinced that I wanted to work in the Bitcoin industry, I was just waiting for a legitimate company to help take it mainstream and reduce these negative associations. I ended up believing that company was Coinbase because of how actively they worked towards onboarding legitimate merchants like Overstock and promoted the importance of regulation. I applied online and told them I knew they weren’t looking for anyone in finance, so I was open to any role because I simply believed in Bitcoin and what they were trying to do. I joined Coinbase in June 2014 for the role they needed, which was a regulatory compliance investigator.I had to start over in a new industry and role, but I was excited to do this because I was passionate about Bitcoin and how it could help society. I was frustrated with the number of people who couldn’t have access to bank accounts, had to pay exorbitant fees for transferring their own money, or even had their money taken away from them by governments. I wanted to work on alleviating these issues and believed that I would regret it if I didn’t jump at the opportunity to join. My colleagues at Coinbase were critical in me feeling I had made the right decision when I joined them. They were passionate, sharp, kind, and humble. For the first time in my career I felt I was driven by genuine passion every time I walked into work because I believed in the mission of the company and how it could improve people’s lives. It’s been truly exciting to see the massive amount of interest in Coinbase, Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies in general over the past few years.Linda Xie is co-founder & managing director of Scalar Capital, a cryptoasset investment firm, and is an advisor to 0x, a protocol for decentralized exchange of Ethereum tokens. Prior to that she worked as a product manager at Coinbase and before joining tech worked at AIG as a portfolio risk analyst.