Since Ben Gray joined Paxos as General Counsel in early 2022, he has seen significant market events that helped Paxos emerge stronger, more resilient and poised for continued success. Gray’s expertise is proving instrumental in guiding the company through pivotal launches and ensuring that regulation and compliance hold their position as the cornerstone of the company.
We recently asked Ben five questions, and in return, we received his take on how he intends to help make the future of finance bright for Paxos—and our clients.
In digital asset markets, transparency is critical and Paxos is known for setting industry standards when it comes to transparency. How does the Paxos legal team continue to ensure transparency where others are more opaque, particularly in relation to digital asset reserves and financial reporting?
“Paxos understands that transparency is a cornerstone of building trust, and trust is key to driving mainstream adoption of these groundbreaking technologies. Our commitment to transparency begins with our approach to engaging with regulators and our customers. We are exceptionally open with our regulatory partners, including discussing areas where our programs need improvement. This has enabled our relationships to deepen such that regulators use us as a resource to inform their policy-making. This type of collaboration is uncommon and something we’re really proud of at Paxos.
We also focus a tremendous amount of attention on how we can share information with the public and with our customers. Paxos has set the industry bar for financial disclosure and reporting. For example, we publish highly detailed and audited monthly reserve reports that disclose the specific assets that secure our stablecoin reserves. By focusing on clarity and openness with our regulators and customers, we are defining the standard for consumer protection and trust in the digital assets space.”
It’s well-known that Paxos takes a regulatory-first approach across all aspects of the company. How does that approach play out in practice? How do you ensure that your company is well-prepared for interactions with regulators?
“From its inception, Paxos has embedded a robust regulatory foundation into its DNA. In practice this means obtaining licenses and meeting the highest regulatory standards available for our products and businesses. Our regulatory approach is rooted in the following pillars:
- Regulatory certainty for customers: Paxos ensures that the financial products and services it offers fit firmly under the umbrella of established and trusted regulatory regimes;
- Regulatory redundancy: Our team ensures sufficient redundancy in our regulatory licenses so that we are resilient, our customers are not at risk of service interruptions, and we can maneuver quickly in the event of sudden changes in the regulatory environment; and,
- Regulatory coverage: We ensure that Paxos’ licenses allow our customers to offer a range of services to a diverse audience of users wherever they are located.
To bolster the strength of our regulatory stack, we continually invest in our risk management and compliance programs. Our risk management approach allows us to quantify the magnitude and probability of identified risks and to embed risk considerations into everyone’s daily work at the company. Our compliance program is dedicated to identifying and removing suspected bad activity from our platforms and products and working in tandem with regulators to drive positive outcomes.”
In the evolving ecosystem of digital assets, trust and integrity will continue to be crucial to end user engagement. How does Paxos approach building end user understanding and engagement in partnership with its enterprise platform partners?
“Major financial institutions and end user customers are more likely to work with a company that is safe, well regulated, and can meet regulators’ high standards for processes, controls and financial stability. It’s imperative that we are able to show our partners and their end users the regulatory strength that Paxos brings to the table. To do this we make it easy for our customers—and our customers’ customers—to understand exactly how their assets are being handled and the regulatory oversight to which Paxos’ operations are subject. We also work with our partners to educate their end users and the public on the virtues of a trusted platform like Paxos, and we work with regulators to drive a greater degree of transparency for the entire industry.”
Paxos has expanded its international footprint with its Major Payments Institution license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. How does Paxos navigate legal and regulatory challenges when considering growth in different jurisdictions?
“Paxos is a global company, and we want to be able to offer our services in the greatest number of countries to as many customers as possible. This requires us to think carefully about where and how we grow.
Whenever we look to expand, we think about the regulatory structures in place, the banking infrastructure, and the ways we can ensure the safety of our customers’ assets. From there, we make thoughtful decisions that position the Paxos platform for maximum depth and reach.
As international markets grow in importance for Paxos, we’ll look to staff more people in local markets to support our regulatory and customer relationships. We are focused on building a world class legal and compliance program to ensure we are successfully meeting our regulatory obligations across all jurisdictions where we are licensed. We hold these obligations in the highest regard.”
As digital assets and blockchain technology continue to gain traction, Paxos is building towards a future where they become integral to the financial system. In this scenario, what challenges and opportunities do you anticipate within the legal field?
“As blockchain and digital assets integrate into the global financial system, we are seeing growth in regulatory complexity. Different markets and regulators view digital assets through varying lenses, and this creates a patchwork of laws and oversight to contend with. To keep abreast of many rapidly evolving areas of law, we try to plan for the future. We constantly ask ourselves ‘Where is the law going to be next year, and how do we make sure we’re well positioned to comply when the time comes?’ Although there are many areas we focus on, a couple of hot topics we’re keeping an eye on include the evolving nature of financial crime and cybersecurity threats, the increase in security breaches, fraud, compliance challenges, and cryptocurrency litigation and enforcement.”