By all accounts, there are plenty of people working for investment banks who have a major interest in crypto. - Chris Perkins, the former global co-head of futures, clearing and FX prime brokerage business at Citi told us he was surrounded by "true believers" before he left the bank to go crypto in September. Aziz McMahon, head of emerging market sales at Goldman in London, left in May after making an undisclosed amount of money on Dogecoin, and it seems there's a continuous drip of traders and others into places like Coinbase.
However, one crypto entrepreneur says ex-finance professionals willing to move to crypto are less common than they might appear. "It's not difficult to find people in the crypto space - it's difficult to find people with a serious traditional finance background who also understand crypto," says Ken Olling, co-founder and chairman of MELD. "If you don't have an understanding of how traditional finance works, you will have a hard time understanding the intersection of finance and crypto."
MELD is a blockchain based lending and borrowing protocol based on the Cardano ecosystem. Describing itself as the "banking stack for DeFi," it enables individuals to take out low-interest loans in fiat currencies, using crypto as collateral. In July, MELD ran an "Initial Stake Pool Offering" (ISPO) and raised $1bn in contributions. It's now hiring.
Olling is based in Norway and MELD is based in Singapore. There are a handful of offices, but most of MELD's staff work remotely, with developers in Croatia and Vietnam and various people in Switzerland. MELD is on the cusp of expanding in the UK, says Olling. It wants to hire around four people to work remotely across trading, sales and marketing. But they need to be all-rounders.
The crypto space is fluid, so job descriptions tend to evolve, says Olling. Ultimately, the company is looking for people who know about regulations and banking and crypto and who can interface with established banks. "They will probably be typical finance types from a trading desk, who've maybe done some institutional work," he says. Their role will be to bring in the fiat currencies that MELD exchanges for its crypto collateral: "The upside for these banks is that they get a stable yield on the fiat liquidity they provide. We need people who can bring these institutional clients on board, manage the relationships and work within regulations."
The option to work from anywhere should be a plus. So may be the possibility of being paid in MELD tokens. "It's up to them how they're paid," says Olling. "We'll pay in sterling or tokens, whatever they prefer."
MELD doesn't always struggle to find ex-banking talent. Christian Katz, a former equity derivative salesman at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, joined the advisory board in September.
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