• After a stint on Wall Street, Veltman spent five years at Salesforce as the senior director of infrastructure finance and strategy before joining Anchorage in 2020
  • Veltman saw blockchain as the logical next step in financial innovation

Anchorage head of finance Julie Veltman knows a good opportunity when she sees one. 

“People that know me expect me to follow my gut and my instincts when it comes to making career decisions that maybe aren’t obvious,” Veltman said. 

Veltman has a range of experience with finance. She began her career on Wall Street before moving into financial infrastructure. 

“I spent 12 years on Wall Street, initially at Merrill Lynch, and then I moved to a boutique investment firm,” she said. “I’ve taken risks in my career. I was on a promotion path at Merrill Lynch and I decided to leave to join a smaller firm.” 

After her stint on Wall Street, Veltman spent five years at Salesforce as the senior director of infrastructure finance and strategy before joining Anchorage in 2020. 

“I really span two distinct verticals of traditional finance; traditional corporate finance and then traditional Wall Street finance,” she said.  

Veltman first learned about digital assets while at Salesforce. She was working closely with the technology and engineering teams at the time and learned about their interests and investments. 

“I heard about cryptography from the security engineering team,” Veltman said. “And then, as I started learning about blockchain, it really resonated with me from an intellectual standpoint.”

A logical next step

Veltman started to dive deeper into digital assets in 2019. Investors and institutions were just beginning to come around to the idea of crypto, but the space was still largely misunderstood. Anchorage approached Veltman about the head of finance position and she became excited about the role. 

“As I started looking into Anchorage and preparing to figure out if this was something I wanted, that’s when I really dove deep into digital assets,” she said. “It was like the two distinct verticals of my career coming together with this role. It combines my Wall Street and capital markets experience with my technology finance experience into one role, so it made a lot of sense for me.” 

Veltman saw blockchain as the logical next step in financial innovation. It wouldn’t be the first technology to disrupt the status quo, she said.  

“Blockchain technology is really similar to some of the technological revolutions that have come in the past,” she said. “Things like the internet and mobile, there was a period of time when those were new technologies and it took time for broader adoption. Now they’ve just become part of the mainstream.” 

Veltman understood early on that the two worlds of finance will have no choice but to eventually merge. 

“In the future, there will not be this separation between traditional finance and digital asset finance, and it’ll just be finance.”

There’s more than one coin in crypto

When she decided to take the job with Anchorage and make the switch into crypto, some of her peers were skeptical. As digital assets become more and more mainstream though, those same people are starting to come around, Veltman said. 

“Some of the people that questioned my decision to leave Salesforce a little over a year ago are now saying ‘wow, I wish I bought some bitcoin when you moved over a year ago,’” said Veltman. “So the tone of the conversation has definitely changed.” 

Veltman is looking forward to institutions and investors learning more about crypto. There is more to the industry than one coin, she said. 

“Institutional adoption of crypto is going to be more than institutions buying bitcoin or ethereum, it is going to be more than institutions focused on a specific cryptocurrency. One of the most exciting things to me when I first joined was that Anchorage isn’t making the bet on a specific currency.” 

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  • Blockworks
    Reporter
    Casey Wagner covers digital assets and macro economics. Prior to joining Blockworks she was a markets reporter at Bloomberg.