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“I really like that the ‘ego games’ fell away”

It's just before ten o'clock on a sunny October morning and the Townhall Meeting starts in a few minutes. This is a regular meeting at Bitpanda that takes place every three weeks and usually brings together the entire team of more than 140 team members. Although she doesn't want to miss the CEOs’ reports on the company's latest developments, lawyer Carina Wolf takes some time to talk about her job.

Carina has been on board as Chief Legal Officer since July 2018. Before then, many of those who knew her would have expected she’d take the “classic” career path, climbing the corporate ladder at Wolf Theiss, the international law firm where Carina found success in Banking & Finance. It’s through this specialisation that she connected with Bitpanda in 2017 when she took over the company’s legal representation. After a good year, when not only her interest in blockchain technology and digital assets had grown, but also when the time between her and Bitpanda's management was right, Carina dared to change sides.

“It was clear to me that here at Bitpanda, I’d have the chance to build something new, something big, and to no longer be just a small cog in the system.” She never regretted the change.

What do you like in particular about your work for Bitpanda?

Carina Wolf: It's the whole change in corporate culture: the relatively young team and that there isn't a jungle of bureaucracy and rules to navigate like other companies. This makes us agile, you reach your goal faster. From day-to-day, working this way is simply fun! Of course, I also loved working as a corporate lawyer, but it's as my husband once said, I have never been so positively absorbed in an activity.

That sounds great. So you probably see each other more than before?

Yes, creating a work-life balance has definitely become easier. We don't have any children, but in the law firm, it was always clear to me that it would be impossible. No chance! With Bitpanda, I can see from other team members that it works very well.

What about collegiality?

I enjoy the fact that all the “ego games” are left behind. At Bitpanda, your voice is heard and your opinion has value. Of course, there are also contradictions, but this is done through open-minded discussions. If someone has a better idea than someone else, nobody is offended.

Is it easy to explain your work to family and friends? The benefits of digital assets aren’t necessarily easy for everyone to grasp.

Oh, I try to keep it simple. When a car dealer explains his job, he doesn't talk about the function of a combustion engine, nobody is interested in that. I explain to people that Bitpanda builds a bridge between the traditional financial world – the euro that everyone has in their pockets – and the crypto world. We facilitate easy access to digital assets and offer our users the security of being able to sell again, at any time.

That said, Carina would still not recommend her legal colleagues leave the regulated career path without reservations. “If you always want to be 100% sure of how things will develop in your career, you won't be happy here”. One must have a certain amount of self-confidence and courage in order to embrace the workplace freedom that Bitpanda offers and the associated responsibility: “But that's exactly the mindset I enjoy!” emphasised Carina.

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Photo credit: Madlener