Ripple Labs has hired Anja Manuel, a former U.S. State Department official, as an adviser to the company, the cryptocurrency payments startup is expected to announce Wednesday.

The San Francisco firm aims to leverage Manuel's expertise as the company looks to expand its international presence, CEO and co-founder Chris Larsen said in a press release. Ripple Labs works to expand the use of Ripple, a settlement protocol that allows disparate financial networks to transfer funds in any currency in real time.

Manuel's appointment helps extend the San Francisco-based company's connections in the nation's capital. In January, the company tapped Gene Sperling, who served as National Economic Council Director and National Economic Advisor for Presidents Clinton and Obama, as a director.

Manuel also serves as a co-founder and partner in the strategic consulting firm RiceHadleyGates LLC, alongside former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The firm advises major U.S. companies on key emerging markets, including China, India and the Middle East.

She previously served as a special assistant to Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns at the State Department from 2005 to 2007, where she helped guide South and Central Asia policy and congressional outreach. During Manuel's State Department tenure, she was part of the negotiating team for the U.S.-India civilian nuclear accord and helped gain its approval in Congress.

Manuel has also worked as a lawyer with the international firm of WilmerHale and as an investment banker with Salomon Brothers, specializing in German and East European mergers and privatizations.