Crypto Hiring: Former BlackRock leader jumps ship to 21Shares

Firm’s hire comes as it looks to further expand its US crypto ETF lineup

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21Shares modified by Blockworks

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An ex-executive at the world’s largest asset manager has joined another ETF provider as both firms look to soon expand their crypto offerings.

Federico Brokate, formerly the Americas business strategy director for BlackRock’s iShares, now leads 21Shares’ US business. 

21Shares nabbed the BlackRock executive after both companies were among those to launch the first US spot bitcoin ETFs in January. Brokate was responsible for BlackRock’s go-to-market strategy for the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) — now the largest bitcoin fund, with roughly $19.8 billion in assets.   

The two asset managers are also slated to soon bring to market spot ether ETFs once the Securities and Exchange Commission formally allows their registration statements, or S-1s, to go effective. 

Brokate’s “experience across strategy, distribution and product” will be key to 21Shares‘ “continued success in the US market,” 21Shares co-founder Ophelia Snyder said in a statement. 

Read more: Short-term view on spot bitcoin ETFs ‘a mistake’ says 21Shares president

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas called it a “big-time hire” in an X post — adding it is a “byproduct of [21Shares’] recent growth.”

The company’s Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB), which it launched with Ark Invest, has roughly $3 billion in assets. Though Ark revealed last month it would not be its partner on the company’s spot ether ETF, 21Shares is pushing forward with that product — noting at the time it was “committed to increasing access to crypto as an asset class for US investors.” 

Other notable developments

  • Digital art collection Azuki hired Steve Chung as its first chief operating officer as part of traditional media’s transition from Web2 to Web3. Chung will be “closely involved” with the launch of AnimeChain — a anime fan-focused blockchain network, the company said.  
  • Investment firm BlockTower Capital appointed David Burke as head of client and partner strategy. Burke was previously a partner at MKP Capital and most recently a senior executive at Orchard Global.
  • Circle has added 137 staffers since the start of 2024, Bloomberg reported this week — a roughly 15% increase. The company has expressed its intent to ultimately go public

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