Galaxy Digital suggests banks are big new competitors for crypto talent
In Coinbase's Q4 earnings presentation, CEO Brian Armstrong described the current period as a "despair phase" for crypto. Yet, he also said that the number of "software engineers working in crypto has doubled." Big crypto native firms are making cuts or instigating hiring freezes... so where is all this software engineering talent in crypto going?
Chris Ferraro, CIO of crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital, spoke at the Morgan Stanley Technology Media and Telecom conference yesterday. As pure crypto firms flounder, Ferraro suggested that the new competition for crypto talent is coming from traditional finance institutions.
Ferraro said he's seeing new crypto groups at "every bank, at every custodian, every broker dealer." The largest teams he expects are up to 100 people at "big asset management firms investing in the next step."
His observation comes as Galaxy Digital has lost several senior people to traditional finance this year. It also comes as Laser Digital, Nomura's crypto spinout continues to hire, as JPMorgan are increasing uts work in the blockchain research space and as Goldman Sachs' head of digital assets, Mathew McDermot says they're "focused as a business on the application of the underlying technology, because that's where we've seen the greatest opportunity,"
By comparison, Ferraro said there's still fallout to come in the crypto-native sector. "Everyone knows they’re still alive and kicking, but really they don’t have a future"
While traditional finance firms deplete the crypto talent pool, crypto native firms can flex their appeal as innovators. Ferraro says Galaxy has created a product team that constitutes 25%-30% of headcount. Rather than imitating banks, he says Galaxy is run "like a tech org."
Galaxy's head of product is Stuart Shearer, formerly global head of product for Goldman Sachs' marquee platform. Another notable product specialist is managing director Tanvir Madan, formerly Kraken's head of product and an alumnus of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.
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