Path to Paxos: Lesley Chavkin’s Journey from Global Affairs to Digital Assets

Welcome to Path to Paxos, a blog series showcasing stories from Paxonians, including how they got here, what they’re working on and why the Paxos mission matters to them. In this installment, we chat with Paxos’ Global Head of Public Policy, Lesley Chavkin.

How did your path to Paxos begin?

I was born and raised in a Seattle that’s a little different from the one of today – think more Boeing than Microsoft – and while I still consider myself a Seattleite at heart (go Seahawks!), it hasn’t been my home for nearly twenty years. After earning a graduate degree in international affairs focused on development economics and security, I ended up in the ‘other’ Washington – Washington, DC. While this isn’t the most conventional path for someone working in the digital assets industry, I suspect there’s no traditional one regarding blockchain.  

I’m coming to Paxos from another part of the blockchain/crypto world – I was most recently Head of Policy for the Stellar Development Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the growth and development of the Stellar network. Before that, I worked at JPMorgan Chase and served in various roles at the Treasury Department, including as a financial attaché in the Arabian Gulf, an economist covering sub-Saharan Africa, and a senior policy advisor for the Middle East. Outside of work, I am a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center. 

Lesley holding a falcon during her travels in Doha.
What are your responsibilities at Paxos?

At Paxos, I’ll lead our policy efforts – engaging with policymakers in the United States and key markets overseas, driving Paxos’s thinking on the critical issues impacting the industry and informing the development of sound policies on digital assets. A successful policy function has to be collaborative and interdisciplinary, and I’m fortunate to work with an incredible group of colleagues from every division, including Legal, Compliance, Product and Growth. 

What about this work excites you?

I love that policy work allows you to be a jack-of-all-trades: you’re engaging with external and internal stakeholders, writing thoughtful commentary and keeping tabs on global developments. What drew me to this field was working as a Treasury attaché in the Middle East. The role relied on subject-matter expertise on financial and economic issues and the ability to build and manage key relationships – and then use that skill set to make progress on some thorny policy issues. These are the same factors necessary for an effective policy function at Paxos. 

Why is strong public policy so important for a company like Paxos? 

We’re at an inflection point when it comes to blockchain technology. There’s so much potential to build a framework that supports responsible innovation and drives much-needed modernization in the financial system. Still, it will require dialogue between policymakers and industry to get it right. We won’t have another shot at this. 

The greatest challenge right now is the lack of harmonization in digital assets policy – there’s a messy global patchwork. Much work is needed to ensure that national-level governments and international standard-setting bodies move in the same direction. Paxos can and should play an important role in these conversations, as a regulated blockchain infrastructure platform. 

Additionally, we continue to see a need to educate policymakers and the public more broadly on the use cases of digital assets. There’s a tremendous appetite among the policy community in DC and elsewhere to understand how enterprise partners and consumers are benefiting from blockchain technology. The growth of stablecoin adoption presents an important opportunity to demonstrate how blockchain-based solutions are having a real world impact – enabling payments, remittances and settlement. 

We have a long road ahead on the policy front, but I’m optimistic that our work will lay the groundwork for an improved financial system. How we move, use and interact with money continuously evolves, and digital assets are just the next step in that journey. 

On a panel (right) discussing digital assets and illicit finance, hosted by the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center and the Digital Dollar Project.
What drew you to join Paxos? 

There’s a huge opportunity to leverage novel technology like blockchain to make every day financial services more efficient, more affordable and more accessible to all. Paxos has been a leader in taking a responsible, regulation-first approach to innovation, and it stood out to me as a model for getting digital assets right. I’m impressed with the talent Paxos has on staff and the direction of the company, and I am excited to play a role in helping build the future of finance. 

Any advice for aspiring Paxonians?

For aspiring Paxonians, I’d encourage you to get comfortable with ambiguity and to learn to ask questions. Every day looks different from the last in a fast-moving, growing company in the fintech space. It can feel daunting, but Paxos is really committed to ‘searching for the truth’ – breaking through all the static and noise to figure out the best, most thoughtful way forward.

Interested in joining our team? Visit to learn more.

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