Count this as another sign that the cryptocurrency space is growing up.
BitMEX and Coinbase, two of the largest market places for crypto, have snagged veteran Wall Streeters as the firms vie for more business from large traditional financial services companies, people familiar with the matter tell Business Insider.
Hong Kong-based BitMEX is a platform that offers peer-to-peer trading of leveraged bitcoin contracts, while Coinbase is a US-based cryptocurrency exchange operator best known for its brokerage unit. Both have been building-out their services to attract large investors.
BitMEX has brought on Amy Yu as head of institutional sales, according to people familiar with the situation. She joins the firm from JPMorgan where she worked in sales for synthetic products.
A BitMEX spokesperson confirmed the hire.
Meanwhile, Lauren Abendschein, formerly a director at Credit Suisse, has joined Coinbase as a manager of institutional sales, according to people familiar with the hire. A spokesman for Coinbase declined to comment as did Abendschein.
She will be work with other folks in Coinbase’s institutional business, which has been building out its white-glove broker business aimed at getting large firms onto Coinbase’s venue. Notably, the firm recently onboarded a $20 billion hedge fund onto its platform, as Business Insider previously reported .
Abendschein, who worked in Credit Suisse’s prime business, will play a role in building out the prime business Coinbase is looking to get off the ground as soon as year-end.
Offering so-called white-glove services to large institutions — from face-to-face meetings to block trades — is one way crypto-exchanges are trying to lure larger investors to the nascent market for digital currencies, market experts says.
Kiran Nagaraj, KPMG’s leader of cryptocurrency services, said larger investors need to be supported on crypto-specific issues such as managing crypto forks — when a crypto splits into two — for them to enter the market in a serious way. Big investors, Nagaraj says, don’t want to be concerned with the technicals.
“They’re in the investment business,” he said. “They can’t hold their own private key. Maybe you’ll find some that’ll do it, but they are looking for market exposure. They don’t want to deal with the operations.”