Latest in Crypto Hiring: Law Firm Adds ex-SEC, CFTC Pros

The former agency execs to lead Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s digital practice with former CFTC chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo


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key takeaways

  • Web3-focused strategy and communications firm hires ex-CoinTelegraph CEO
  • Crypto prime brokerage adds director of marketing from Fireblocks

Law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher hired digital asset attorney Kari Larsen as a partner who will co-lead its digital-focused practice in New York.

Larsen joins the firm from Perkins Coie, where she co-led the blockchain, digital asset and custody group within its fintech practice. She began her career as international operations counsel for the enforcement division of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), advising on cross-border policy matters. 

She will help advise clients on issues related to cryptocurrency and digital asset transactional, regulatory and enforcement matters.

The executive will co-head the unit with Aliceson “Kristina” Littman, who joined the firm earlier this month from the SEC, where she was chief of its crypto assets and cyber unit, as well as Justin Browder, who has worked as a partner in Willkie’s asset management department for the last few years. 

J. Christopher Giancarlo, senior counsel at Willkie and a former chairman of the CFTC, will continue co-leading the practice.

“With the additions of Kari and Kristy, along with Justin taking on a leadership role, our team combines a highly skilled focus on digital assets akin to a boutique fintech firm with the rigor, discipline and reach of one of the world’s premier international law firms,” Giancarlo said in a statement.

Crypto prime brokerage Floating Point Group hired Chris Hazelton as its director of marketing. 

Hazelton led marketing teams for custody technology provider Fireblocks, mobile security company Lookout and BlackBerry’s enterprise software division.

The appointment comes about a month after Floating Point Group hired Wells Fargo’s former head of electronic trading sales to oversee business development in the US and throughout Asia Pacific. 

Jereme Holiman has joined Shardeum, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-based sharded blockchain, as its vice president of people.

Holiman was most recently the co-founder and vice president of people operations at insurance tech platform Clyde. He also co-founded UrbanStem, a floral and gifting e-commerce business.

Shardeum is seeking to double the size of its engineering team over the next six months.

“Regardless of the cross-industry slowdown in hiring, we are marching forward to further expand our ecosystem in India and around the world,” Shardeum CEO Nischal Shetty said in a statement. 

Digital asset-backed securities provider ETC Group expanded its European team by adding Jan Altmann and Alan Boulhimez as directors of investment strategy. 

Prior to joining ETC group, Altmann developed the ETF market at Deutsche Börse, and was a senior ETF analyst at JustETF. Boulhimez was most recently head of internal sales at First Trust, and also previously worked as a financial advisor at AXA.

DeFi startup Nova Finance appointed Zaahirah Adam as its first chief operating officer. 

Adam most recently worked as chief of staff at finance platform Liberis. Prior to that, she was head of strategy and execution at UK-based Capita Pension Solutions.

“Personal finance, payments and financial freedom has been a longstanding passion of mine,” Adam said in a statement. “I am excited to be moving into a space which has such incredible potential to democratize and open up the financial ecosystem.”

Nova Finance raised $3 million in a seed round last year from investors including Animoca Brands, SkyVision Capital, Rarestone Capital and Solana. 

Several months after merging its teams responsible for digital asset markets and those focused on market access and insights across traditional securities, Northern Trust added a new leader to the combined unit.

Previously the company’s head of market advocacy and innovation research for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Michael Buzza will now work as global head of network management and market strategy. 

Wachsman, a strategy and communications firm advising Web3 and fintech companies, hired ex-CoinTelegraph CEO Jay Cassano as its chief growth officer.

Cassano was editor-in-chief for the crypto media company for a year before becoming its chief executive in September 2020. 

In case you missed it

Algorand hired Michele Quintaglie, a former head of communications at Fidelity Investments’ asset management arm and Visa, as its chief marketing officer

Binance revealed this week the creation of a global board of advisors that will focus on helping the crypto exchange navigate regulatory complexities in the space. Max Baucus, a former US senator for Montana and America’s ex-ambassador to China, was named chair of the group. 

Japan-based financial giant Nomura launched Laser Digital, which will start by investing in companies that focus on DeFi, centralized finance, Web3 and blockchain infrastructure. 

Steven Ashley, formerly head of Nomura’s wholesale division, has stepped down to help lead Laser Digital as its chair. Jez Mohideen, who joined Nomura in 2018 as a global chief digital officer, is set to be the new business’s CEO.

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