Latest in Crypto Hiring: Binance Co-founder Takes Helm of Exchange’s Venture Arm

Recruiting firm executive estimates one-third of Robinhood layoffs will be digital asset-focused roles

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key takeaways

  • Another 21Shares staffer moves over to competing ETP issuer Valour
  • Legal and compliance executive goes from Figure to Wave Financial

Binance tapped co-founder Yi He to lead the crypto exchange’s venture arm and incubator. The move comes after ex-Binance Labs lead Bill Qian disclosed he was leaving the company to “move on to a new chapter.” Qian’s next move isn’t known. 

Binance Labs manages $7.5 billion in assets, comprising more than 200 portfolio companies. It has incubated projects such as Polygon, FTX, Certik, Nym and Dune Analytics and closed a $500 million investment fund in June. 

Set to lead the business’s global strategy and day-to-day operations, He will also focus on supporting infrastructure projects and improving utility in innovative crypto and blockchain projects. 

The “unparalleled opportunity” to identify projects that will thrive in tough market conditions makes it a perfect time for He to take the helm of the company’s venture business, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said.

“As a leading player in the space, my goal is to help define the industry standard by identifying and supporting sustainable projects and building an ecosystem of quality blockchain solutions that empowers the entire industry,” He said in a statement.

Valour, a tech company that offers a range of crypto ETPs, hired Elaine Bühler as a product manager to help expand its product lineup.

Previously a product manager for Switzerland-based 21Shares, Bühler was responsible for its crypto ETP (exchange-traded product) launches into the Swiss and European markets. 

Peter Märkl, meanwhile, formerly 21Shares’ head of legal, became Valour’s general counsel at the beginning of the month. Valour also hired Marco Infuso, an ex-managing director and head of Germany at the crypto fund manager, to lead global sales.

Kelly Catherine Chapman has joined crypto fund manager Wave Financial as head of legal and chief compliance officer.

Chapman will provide legal advice as it relates to Wave’s expansion, including managing outside counsel on fund formation work, active fund management, institutional investor work, venture deals and mergers and acquisitions.

Kelly most recently served as product counsel for securities-related products for Figure, and in-house counsel and chief compliance officer for related funds and registered investment advisers. 

Singapore-based blockchain gaming and entertainment company Digital Entertainment Asset (DEA) appointed Ryohei Nuka as chief financial officer.

Nuka joined Goldman Sachs in 2009 and was in charge of product control operations for equity and derivatives trading desks. He was more recently a senior controller in the finance department of Goldman Sachs Japan.

DEA’s previous CFO, Kyuzaburo Suzuki, will continue to help develop the company’s financial strategy as a senior advisor.

Web3 game development and distribution company Thirdverse hired Isao Moriyasu as its executive producer of Web3 games. 

The former CEO of DeNA, one of Japan’s largest IT providers in mobile games, Moriyasu is set to help further drive Thirdverse’s growth in the metaverse and Web3.

Crypto platform BitGo promoted Chen Fang to chief operating officer and appointed Victor Tsou to vice president of engineering.

Fang and Tsou will focus on driving BitGo’s operational strategy as the company continues to offer custodial, trading and finance solutions to investors, fintech firms and crypto native platforms that own digital assets. 

Fang most recently worked as BitGo’s chief product officer. Prior to joining BitGo, he co-founded Lumina, a portfolio management suite for digital assets that was acquired by BitGo in early 2020.

Tsou was most recently senior director of engineering at Affirm, where he led efforts in loan servicing, payments processing, international expansion and consumer products. He has also led engineering teams at Block.

Web3 and Metaverse infrastructure company InfiniteWorld hired Alan Krassowski as chief technology officer. He replaces Lucas Henning, who will become chief technology officer at Suku, InfiniteWorld’s Web3 partner.

Prior to InfiniteWorld, Krassowski served in the roles of CTO, chief architect, vice president of technology, and senior director of engineering at companies such as ConsenSys Capital, Intel Security, Symantec, Cylance and Kiva. 

Crypto banking and payments company BVNK hired Jonathan Cumberlidge to lead foreign exchange growth. He will work with brokers and funds to design digital asset banking and payment solutions that help service demand from active traders in particular.

“Traders want increased access to crypto liquidity, for both spot and derivative products, custody solutions, platforms, banking and payments,” Cumberlidge said in a statement. “With their loyal, active trader customer bases, brokers are ideally positioned to satisfy these demands and diversify into crypto as an emerging asset class.” 

The executive most recently worked as a sales director Finalto During his career, Cumberlidge has also held senior sales positions at companies including Saxo Bank, GAIN Capital and GFT.

Robinhood announces more layoffs

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev revealed on Tuesday that the company would be reducing the company’s headcount by 23% in the wake of reduced customer trading activity and assets under custody.

The layoffs are set to decrease Robinhood’s workforce to 2,600 staffers. Severance and restructuring costs as a result of the job cuts are estimated to cost between $45 million and $60 million, executives said during the company’s earnings call Wednesday. 

Sam Wellalage, founder of WorkInCrypto.Global, said he expects about a third of the layoffs to stem from digital asset-focused roles.

“Most people who are losing jobs in crypto are snapped up by fintech and TradFi [companies],” Wellalage told Blockworks. “We also see a lot of hyper-growth startups snapping up these candidates.”

The market environment and resulting layoffs are also tough on boutique headhunting firms, like Wellalage’s company. He said his crypto recruiting firm, which averaged about 10 placements per month, is now doing less than half of that.


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