BlockFi Parts Ways With Head of US Trading

Blockworks exclusive: The executive was the only one cut from the trading team, one source said


Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel


key takeaways

  • The investment firm recently cut 20% of staffers and received an emergency infusion of cash from crypto exchange FTX to bolster its beleaguered balance sheet
  • The layoffs come amid a spate of similar actions by other digital asset-focused companies hit hard by sliding crypto markets

Digital assets-focused investment firm BlockFi has parted ways with its head of US trading amid a broad-based restructuring, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

The move took place during a widespread crypto downturn that, in part, prompted the asset manager to lay off 20% of its employees and take a sizable emergency cash infusion from crypto exchange FTX to stabilize its business. 

Jason Wilkinson oversaw BlockFi’s US trading team and previously spent more than a decade as a senior trader at Two Rivers Trading. Wilkinson declined to comment.

A BlockFi spokesperson declined to comment. Sources were granted anonymity to discuss sensitive business dealings. 

A headhunting source, who requested anonymity for fear of alienating BlockFi, said Wilkinson ought to have “little trouble” landing a new gig — despite a suddenly tough hiring market as a result of firms including CoinBase and Babel Finance cutting staffers — given his deep traditional finance experience. 

Wilkinson was the only departure from the firm’s 12-person trading team, and the trading desk’s global head and head of Asia-Pacific trading remain with the company, one source said. The team is maintaining 24/7 trading, with no interruption to clients, the source added. 

BlockFi last week received a $250 million line of revolving credit from FTX, whose founder Sam Bankman-Fried has gone on a spending spree in both crypto and traditional assets, floating loans to bail out companies deeply underwater from the market downturn. 

While Bankman-Fried has said his motives are altruistic, industry participants have told Blockworks that his efforts put the exchange — plus his venture capital firm, Alameda Ventures — in prime position to snap up stakes in beleaguered companies or acquire them outright. 

The founder, one of the most prominent in digital assets, has said he has no day-to-day involvement in Alameda Ventures.

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