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Top Coinbase guy leaves for newly minted Gen AI unicorn backed by NVIDIA

Crypto may be making a comeback, but generative AI has usurped both crypto and blockchain as the ultimate technology of the future. Accordingly, Coinbase's head of sales operations and strategy, Jonathan Liu has made a bet on AI, joining a startup fresh off a $106m funding round.

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Together.ai has hired Liu as its head of sales operations. The company was recently valued at $1.25bn just five months after its last funding round, $102.5m in November, which included investment from AI titan NVIDIA. Together.ai contributes to open source AI research by providing decentralized cloud based servers which allow people to effectively train AI models.

Liu joins after four years at Coinbase. He started life as a Citi summer analyst and went on to work at consultancy Oliver Wyman, Hong Kong fintech WeLab, and LinkedIn. He's not the only person departing fintech for AI research; OpenAI and Anthropic have been picking up many people from Stripe this year. 

There are not many Coinbase alumni at the established AI giants; they seem to prefer building their own startups. Danu Kumanan left his role as DeFi Technical Lead at Coinbase last March and launched his startup brdge.ai. Naman Jain, a software engineer who joined Coinbase from Goldman Sachs, left in May to launch DoWhile AI. The most senior person to do so, however is Eric Chung. He was COO of Coinbase's asset management division, then COO of Coinbase Custody, and left in September to found a firm called Bespoke AI, though little is known about it right now.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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