An Interview with Lana Schwartzman, Notabene's New Head of Regulatory & Compliance
We recently sat down with Lana Schwartzman, Notabene’s newly appointed Head of Regulatory & Compliance, who discussed her history in compliance, what led her to transition to the crypto industry, and how Travel Rule compliance will be at the forefront of preventing illicit activity.
Q: What is your history in compliance?
A: Oh, it’s a long one! I have spent 17 years in compliance and AML regulations across Web3, digital assets, fintech, and TradFi. I began my compliance career at Morgan Stanley on the compliance team and eventually moved to Deutsche Bank. I then spent seven years at Grant Thornton’s Regulatory and Compliance Risk Advisory Services practice, where I advised the early crypto adopters (and TradeFi companies) on setting up and implementing compliance programs, helping them think about digital onboarding, as well as managing teams that did the annual independent compliance program reviews, and consent order validation for various cryptocurrency companies, financial institutions, and foreign banking organizations.
Later, shifting into crypto, I served as Chief Compliance Officer for two crypto companies, the latest being Dapper Labs. Any NFL ALL-Day fans out there? As a CCO, I designed and implemented BSA/AML/Sanctions Compliance programs and led MSB/MTL licensure strategy and process, all while keeping the pulse on the ever-changing regulatory environment.
Q: What drew you to the crypto industry, and why compliance in particular?
A: I always wanted to fight the good fight and make a difference by catching bad actors. Right out of college, I was recruited into the compliance world. While in this world, virtual currencies came to my attention. With my compliance hat, I found it very interesting that one could transfer value from A to B without many regulations (back in the day). I started reading as much as possible on this and slowly became a crypto compliance SME. I’m a techie at heart, and this was the next frontier.
Q: What do you see as the market opportunity for crypto compliance and Notabene’s part in driving that?
A: Regulation, now more than ever, along with regulatory clarity, is super important for the industry. As a former CCO for various crypto companies, I always craved that certainty. The Travel Rule is one of the industry’s most important rules, which, if the challenges are overcome with time, will be at the forefront of preventing illicit activity if it works in the way it was supposed to. Notabene’s end-to-end platform is Travel Rule messaging protocol agnostic. Additionally, it supports all asset types. Compliance Officers can use the Rules Engine to set smart rules to account for international jurisdictional differences. Thus, it is the premier industry solution for complete compliance with the Travel Rule.
Q: Why did you decide to join Notabene? Why now?
A: I have been in the crypto compliance space for almost 12 years and have been a CCO at two crypto companies - in the crypto world, that is a lifetime! I wanted to bring my CCO perspective to a vendor product so that it can be built not just by engineers and product development - but with compliance and the Compliance Officers’ journey in mind. I wanted to be the customer voice internally and externally. Further, I think the Notabene team is brilliant and having two female co-founders is a bonus. These incredibly seasoned and educated professionals bring years of experience to build the best platform for Travel Rule compliance.
Q: How do you see your role as Head of Regulatory & Compliance shaping the future of Notabene?
A: I’m joining Notabene at a pivotal moment in the industry as regulators worldwide sharpen their focus on virtual assets. Having an internal voice of CCOs at Notabene, I believe, will play a significant role in shaping our upcoming product features and services. Another goal is to enrich Notabene’s Compliance Officer community with pointed webinars, off-sites, and working groups for VASPs coming to terms with this new regulatory and technological environment. I will also engage with various regulators to ensure they understand our community and product and directly hear what is vital as we evolve.
Q: What’s keeping you up at night (as a CCO)?
A: Regulatory uncertainty and lack of clarity.
Q: Which jurisdictions do you have your eye on as this rolls out, and why?
A: Of course, the US is the shakiest and needs the most clarity. EU, under MICA, will be an extensive reach with all the changes.
Q: Which publications do you read on a weekly/daily basis?
A: I’m all over Crypto Twitter! But I am a fan of my friend Ari Redbord at TRM Labs and his weekly updates. I’m big on podcasts like:
- “Web3 with a16z crypto”
- “Empire” by Blockworks
- “Public Key” by Chainalysis
- “Unchained” with Laura Shin
- “Law of Code” by Jacob Robinson
- “What bitcoin did” by Peter McCormick
- “Decrypt” with Matthew Diemer
- “Great Women in Compliance” by Corporate Compliance Insights
And many more. I read Coindesk, Cointelegraph, and Morning Brew….and unrelated to work, different cooking/recipes blogs and weekly Torah summaries.
Want to know more about Lana? Read the press release. Reach out to Lana on Twitter or Linkedin.