Despite the continued decline of the cryptocurrency market and associated forced layoffs at major crypto companies, a career in crypto is not becoming less attractive for many traditional financial executives.
European crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider 21Shares on Wednesday announced three major hires to expand its presence in countries including France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
Marina Baudéan, newly appointed head of 21Shares for France, Belgium and Luxembourg, begins her career in crypto after working for more than 15 years at the British universal bank Barclays.
Baudéan is convinced that crypto is “all about the next generation of technology” and is here to stay despite market fluctuations or other issues. Having witnessed many changes in technology throughout her career, she drew parallels between crypto and the early days of digital commerce, saying:
“I started my career in electronic fixed income trading in 2000, when traders told me they would never trade electronically. Over twenty years later, this market is now very electronic.
“Moving from traditional finance to crypto was a natural progression for me,” Baudéan said in an interview with Cointelegraph, adding that the growth and momentum around crypto made her eager to move into crypto.
Oliver Schäfer, 21Shares’ new head of Germany, also joined the crypto ETF company with a strong background in traditional finance, bringing decades of experience at large financial firms. Before starting a career in crypto, Schäfer spent more than 15 years at US investment bank JPMorgan.
“I believe in the long-term opportunity of crypto – the asset class is growing and in its infancy, so I’m focusing on the long-term opportunity versus market conditions at short term,” Schäfer said, adding that it’s an “exciting time to be in crypto.” Schäfer noted that he first invested in crypto in 2020, eventually becoming more interested in technological developments and industrial.
Although JPMorgan is actively involved in the crypto industry, CEO Jamie Dimon is known for his notable criticisms of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC). To this, Schäfer – former chief executive of JPMorgan – noted that many institutions have embraced crypto assets after initially being skeptical of them, stating:
“It is important to remember that throughout history many people were initially skeptical of technological developments before they were adopted by the general public – as with computers and mobile phones. This is the natural course of technological advances.
Sherif El-Haddad, former Head of Asset Management at Dubai-based Al Mal Asset Management, has joined 21Shares as Head of Middle East.
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“I believe in the underlying fundamentals of cryptocurrencies and expected growth over the next decade, and have positioned myself accordingly,” El-Haddad said. He also mentioned that he tried to launch a crypto ETF physically backed by Al Mal, but his proposal was not approved. He added:
“Cryptocurrencies have been well received globally by retail investors and institutional and ultra-high net worth investors are expected to buy now after the recent price correction.”
The new hires by 21Shares are further proof that the crypto job market has remained strong despite the bear market and a massive wave of layoffs.
Major crypto companies, including big names like Coinbase and Gemini, have decided to lay off up to 20% of their workforce so far, citing tough market conditions and the onset of an economic recession. In contrast, many crypto firms FTX or the Binance crypto exchange continued to hire more talent during the ongoing crypto winter.