• Laurent Kssis, the firm’s new head of Europe, says launching thematic products that offer exposure to the broader crypto market is a major focus
  • The hire follows Hashdex’s launch of a DeFi ETF and the approval of an upcoming Web3 offering

Hashdex has poached an executive from competitor 21Shares as the Brazilian cryptoasset manager looks to extend its presence in Europe.

Laurent Kssis, who will serve as a managing director and head of Europe, has joined the ETF issuer in the midst of its product expansion. 

Hashdex, which surpassed $1 billion in assets under management last year, launched the world’s first crypto index ETF, the Hashdex Nasdaq Crypto Index ETF, in February 2021.

The firm earlier this month moved to bring a Web3-focused ETF to the Brazilian stock exchange B3. Set to begin trading March 30 under the ticker WEB311, the product seeks to replicate the CF Web 3.0 Smart Contract Platforms Index.

The launch of WEB311 will follow Hashdex’s launch of its DeFi ETF (DEFI11), also in Brazil.

Now, Hashdex seeks to replicate its success in Brazil within the European market, Kssis said. The company plans to create ETPs (exchange-traded products) in Switzerland, where it is already established, he added, before launching such offerings across Europe.

“As we build and launch products, we will continue to target innovative investors and help provide them with the exposure they want but are not currently able to capture,” Kssis told Blockworks in an email. “In addition, we will focus on leveraging our research capabilities to further educate the marketplace on crypto innovation and investing.”

Hashdex is looking to differentiate from competitors by focusing on thematic products that offer exposure to the crypto market, rather than individual assets “without much flexibility or diversification,” Kssis noted.

Kssis was formerly a managing director and the global head of ETPs at Swiss issuer 21Shares, which offers nearly two-dozen single-asset ETPs. 21Shares CEO Hany Rashwan told Blockworks last month the firm aims to support what it considers to be the top 50 cryptocurrencies by the end of this year.

“I have historically been focused on single assets products, but what Hashdex specializes in is baskets of crypto assets, providing exposure in a safe and simple way,” Kssis said. “Given the evolution of what institutional investors are demanding, we’re fully aligned on how to structure products and help investors capture broad exposure to the market.”

Before 21Shares, Kssis was CEO of Swedish crypto issuer XBT Provider AB, which CoinShares acquired in 2017. There, he oversaw the first European Ether ETP listing, which raised $400 million within weeks of launch.

Hashdex CEO Marcelo Sampaio said in a statement that Kssis’ background — particularly in Switzerland, which he called “the leading venue for listing crypto ETPs” — will help the company accelerate its international reach. 

The number of ETPs trading in Europe continues to grow, while the US Securities and Exchange Commission continues to decline approval for such offerings.

The addition of Kssis is the latest in a string of recent Hashdex hires.

The company in December added Matthew Flood as its head of US business development and Jack Song as the country’s head of corporate communications and chief of staff. The firm said at the time that it planned to leverage its exclusive partnerships with Nasdaq and Victory Capital as part of its US expansion and expects to launch US products soon.

Hashdex more recently hired Nicole Dyskant as its global head of legal and compliance.

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  • Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering macro and crypto-native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Prior to joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for various local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. Contact Ben via email at [email protected]