Despite the ongoing decline in the cryptocurrency market and the associated layoffs at major crypto companies, a career in crypto is becoming no less attractive to many traditional financial executives.
European crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider 21Shares announced three major hires on Wednesday to expand its presence in countries such as France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
Marina Baudéan, the new head of 21Shares for France, Belgium and Luxembourg, is debuting her crypto career after more than 15 years at the British universal bank Barclays.
Baudéan is convinced that crypto is “all about the next generation of technology”, and that it will stay here despite market fluctuations or other problems. After witnessing many technological changes during her career, she drew parallels between crypto and the early days of digital trading, saying:
“I started my career in electronic fixed income trading in 2000 when traders told me they would never trade electronically. More than twenty years later, this market is now very electronic.”
“Moving from traditional finance to crypto was a natural progression for me,” Baudéan said in an interview with Cointelegraph, adding that the growth and momentum around crypto made her excited to switch to crypto.
Oliver Schäfer, the new head of 21Shares for Germany, also joined the crypto ETF company with a solid traditional finance background, bringing decades of experience with major financial firms. Before embarking on a crypto career, Schäfer spent more than 15 years at US investment bank JPMorgan.
“I believe in the long-term opportunity of crypto – the asset class is growing and still in its infancy, so I’m focused on the long-term opportunity versus the short-term market conditions,” Schäfer said, adding that it’s an “exciting time to be in crypto”. Schäfer noted that he invested in crypto for the first time in 2020 and eventually became more interested in the technological and industrial developments.
Despite JPMorgan actively participating in the crypto industry, CEO Jamie Dimon is known for his remarkable criticism of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC). To this, Schäfer – former executive director of JPMorgan – noted that many institutions have adopted crypto assets after initially being skeptical about it, stating:
“It’s important to remember that throughout history, many people were initially skeptical about technological developments before being adopted into the mainstream, such as with computers and cell phones. This is the natural course of technological progress.”
Sherif El-Haddad, former head of asset management at Al Mal Asset Management in Dubai, has joined 21Shares as head of Middle East.
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“I believe in the underlying fundamentals of cryptocurrencies and the growth it is expected to see over the next decade, and I have positioned myself accordingly,” said El-Haddad. He also said he tried to launch a physically backed crypto ETF at Al Mal, but his proposal was not approved. He added:
“Cryptocurrencies have been well received by retail investors worldwide and institutional and ultra-high wealth are now expected to buy after the recent price correction.”
The new hires by 21Shares are further proof that the crypto job market has remained strong despite the bear market and a huge wave of layoffs.
Major crypto firms, including big names like Coinbase and Gemini, have so far laid off up to 20% of their workforce, citing difficult market conditions and the start of an economic recession. In contrast, many crypto firms continued to hire FTX or the Binance crypto exchange during the ongoing crypto winter.