Keisha Lance Bottoms joins Coinbase Global Advisory Council

Former Atlanta mayor to help advise cryptocurrency exchange on equitable financial systems, company said, and advocate for alternative currencies to the public and lawmakers
Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks during the celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Mayor Maynard Jackson at the Atlanta City Hall Atrium, Monday, January 8, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /



Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks during the celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of Mayor Maynard Jackson at the Atlanta City Hall Atrium, Monday, January 8, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is joining the global advisory council of Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.

She will help advise the company on how to create more equitable financial systems as well as be a voice to the public and lawmakers on cryptocurrency. The paid appointment comes a little over a year after she left her role as a senior advisor in the Biden Administration.

“I think it’s important that in our communities that we have representation in areas that we aren’t normally seen,” Bottoms told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When our communities have an interest, it’s important that we also have a voice at the table.”

The vast majority of Americans who are aware of cryptocurrencies doubt their safety, according to a 2023 Pew Research Survey, and the fraud and failure of the exchange FTX has haunted the industry.

That same Pew survey found fewer than one-in-five American adults have ever invested in, traded or used crypto. But among minorities, 21% of Black or Hispanic adults said they had used it compared to 14% of white adults.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is also joining the council, according to the Los Angeles Times. Bottoms and Villaraigosa will join nine other members appointed over the last year, including former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, former U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom.

Bottoms’ experience as a leader both in Atlanta and in the White House was why Coinbase decided to tap her for the council, according to Faryar Shirzad, chief policy officer at Coinbase and one of the main executives that works with the advisory council.

Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms finishes White House position, returning ‘home to Atlanta’

Credit: File photo

icon to expand image

Credit: File photo

“She’s very much of a national leader, has her finger on the pulse of the American people in a way that we thought would be important to help us as we navigate kind of our growth across the country,” Shirzad said.

The global advisory council meets virtually every other week and will meet in person sometime this summer, Shirzad said. The online meetings typically include an innovator or business leader in the crypto community to speak with councilmembers.

“The biggest thing we want from the advisors is people who want to learn about crypto so they can talk about it more fluidly” Shirzad said.

Bottoms admits her first experience with cryptocurrency wasn’t a positive one. When she was mayor, in March 2018, the city of Atlanta’s computer network was held hostage by attackers demanding $51,000 in Bitcoin be paid in ransom in exchange for regaining control of the systems.

But in the years since, Bottoms said she came to realize how popular cryptocurrency was among Atlantans and young people. When she was presented with the opportunity to join the council, she ran it past her kids first.

“Have you ever heard of this Coinbase? What do you think of it?” she said she asked them. “And they were actually excited about it.”

The crypto industry has recently come under more scrutiny by federal regulators, particularly after the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Sam Bankman-Fried, the exchange’s founder, was sentenced to 25 years in prison last month after he was found guilty of fraud and conspiracy.

Other exchanges, including Coinbase, have come into the crosshairs of regulators. Last June, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Coinbase with operating as an unregistered broker and exchange. The company has been fighting the civil lawsuit.

Shirzad said the regulatory landscape around crypto is “developing.”

“We need more clarity, and I think we’re very confident that we’ll get it over time, whether it’s in the courts or through legislation, but it’s a process and we’re kind of committed to it,” he said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Report for America are partnering to add more journalists to cover topics important to our community. Please help us fund this important work here.