Some bright minds leave Wall Street for the crypto area

Posted Jun 4, 2018 by Ken Hanly
Some bright young minds in financial establishment firms are moving to the cryptocurrency area after already making enough money in the crypto market in their spare time to leave their present jobs.
The headquarters of Deutsche Bank are pictured in Frankfurt
The headquarters of Deutsche Bank are pictured in Frankfurt
Ralph Orlowski / Reuters
Many in the Wall Street establishment debate whether cryptocurrencies will become a profit center or a legal liability but meanwhile some of their employees have grown wealthy by investing in the area in their spare time. For them the argument is over as they turn down promising jobs at top firms to move over to the growing cryptocurrency market. They are leaving high and rising monthly salaries for the risky crypto area where they have already amassed enough to abandon their jobs. They are ardent believers in the new blockchain technology behind coins such as bitcoin and are starting their own businesses.
Asim Ahmad
Asim Ahmad worked at BlackRock advising pension funds on investments in alternative assets and hedge funds. He invested in cryptocurrencies in his spare time. BlackRock is an American global management company with headquarters in New York. The company is the world's largest asset manager. It has a whopping $6.3 trillion under management as of December 2017. The company operates globally with 70 offices in 30 countries but with clients in 100 countries. BlackRock has been called the world's largest shadow bank.
Ahmad said: “I’m in a position where it doesn’t make sense to work at BlackRock anymore. The one-day volatility of my portfolio is higher than my salary, so if I get a few investments right then I’ll have made the same as my yearly wage and everything else on top is a bonus.”
Ahmad now helps run a fund that invests in blockchain ventures that have a positive social or environmental impact.
Adrian Xinli Zhang
Zhang was rising up in the ranks of Deutsche Bank AG in New York but after he discovered bitcoin the 29-year old made enough trading in digital currencies that he decided to leave the bank a month after he had just been promoted as a director. Zhang was formerly a trader at the centralized risk desk at the bank. Zhang is said to have traded more than $1 million in crypto assets.
Deutsche Bank AG
is a Germany-based investment bank that also provides investment services. It is has headquarters in Frankfurt Germany but has offices elsewhere including New York. It is present in 58 countries. As of December last year Deutsche Bank was the 17th largest bank in the world by assets. It is a component of Euro Stoxx 50 and DAX stock market indices.
Goldman Sachs also has seen at least three front office employees leave the company including Jonathan Cheesman 36 and Justin Saslaw 29 after making profits from cryptocurrencies.
Wall Street opinion on cryptocurrencies is mixed
Adam Grimsley, a former Blackrock fixed-income specialist who has co-founded a crypto hedge fund in London, said: “You’ve seen a bifurcation internally at many larger houses where senior managers are very skeptical about crypto, while graduates and younger team members are very positive. The youngsters may have less intellectual baggage and may be more open-minded, but they also have less responsibility for managing risk and working out the practicalities of bolting on crypto to the existing business.”
Many who support the block chain technology are at the same time skeptical of the value of the associated cryptocurrencies.
Chris Matta, just 28, said that the crypto market was definitely taking talent away from financial services. Matta left Goldman Sachs' money management unit in 2017 to co-found an invest firm for digital currencies.