Ripple on Tuesday announced that it has appointed Benjamin Lawsky, former superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services and architect of a controversial cryptocurrency regulatory regime, to its board of directors.

Lawsky is well known in the cryptocurrency community. In January 2014, while superintendent of the NYDFS, he held the first state-level hearings on bitcoin, out of which emerged the BitLicense, a set of statewide requirements that pushed a number of digital-currency companies out of New York.

As chief architect of the BitLicense, Lawsky remains something of a bête noire to many bitcoiners. But Ripple, a San Francisco-based startup responsible for creating the digital currency XRP, has long taken a pro-regulation stance as it seeks to work with mainstream banks.

Benjamin Lawsky, former superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services.
Benjamin Lawsky was the architect of BitLicense, New York's contested cryptocurrency regulatory regime.

In addition to selling enterprise software that competes with Swift, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, Ripple hopes to persuade financial institutions to use XRP — the world's fourth-largest digital currency by market capitalization — to achieve on-demand liquidity for cross-border payments.

"Ripple is the leading enterprise blockchain company in the world today and is one that truly understands the importance of regulation-enabled innovation," Lawsky said in a news release. "The company and its leadership are passionate about making our global financial system more efficient, more secure and more fair. I share those same goals and am thrilled and humbled to work side by side with their incredible team."

Also on Tuesday, Ripple announced that it had named a new chief financial officer, Ron Will, a former investment banker who has spent more than a decade as a senior financial executive at Yahoo and other technology companies.