• Crypto exchange Kraken seeks to build out an NFT marketplace and more spot trading pairs in UK after latest hire
  • BlockFi’s co-founder takes chief operating officer post amid executive reshuffle

Gemini’s former head of UK has joined crypto exchange Kraken to lead its UK operations and drive crypto adoption in the region. 

Prior to Kraken and Gemini, Blair Halliday held senior compliance roles at Circle, CashFlow, ICE and Paysafe Group. He also spent 14 years at NatWest Group and spent a year at JPMorgan. 

“Households are actively thinking about the cost of living and personal finances, and we’re proud to highlight a viable alternative to the current legacy financial system,” Halliday said in a statement. Similarly, as institutions further enter the marketplace they’re in search of crypto firms that complement the highest level of security with outstanding products and services.”

Kraken intends to continue hiring in the country and looks to expand its UK product suite with an NFT marketplace and additional spot trading pairs against the British pound sterling (GBP).

BlockFi co-founder Flori Marquez is now the company’s chief operating officer, the crypto exchange revealed late last week.

In addition to Marquez taking on a new role, Amit Cheela is now BlockFi’s new chief financial officer. Formerly working for ESL Investments, Coastal Investment Management and PwC, he replaces Tony Lauro, who will join BlockFi’s board of directors.

Rob Loban, who joined BlockFi in 2020, was promoted to chief accounting officer, while Meg Crowell, who came to BlockFi in 2019, is now its chief people officer. Crowell replaces Laura Cooper, who is now an adviser for the firm. 

A BlockFi spokesperson declined to comment about the moves. 

The executive reshuffle comes a few months after the company signed agreements with FTX US for a $400 million revolving line of credit, as well as for the crypto exchange to buy BlockFi for up to $240 million based on performance triggers. 

Brian Roberts, who was NFT marketplace OpenSea’s chief financial officer for nearly a year, has left the role. 

“I had the rare opportunity to build a team literally from the ground up and handpicked game changers,” he said in a LinkedIn post. “I’ve been working closely with [CEO] Devin Finzer and the supremely capable Justin Jow to ensure a smooth transition, and I will be staying on as an advisor to the company.”

Jow joined OpenSea as vice president of finance earlier this year after a three-year stint at Uber. It is unclear whether he will formally take over the CFO role.

A spokesperson for OpenSea declined to comment.

New CEOs

The dYdX Foundation named Charles d’Haussy its new CEO to help grow the decentralized cryptocurrency exchange protocol via partnerships with development teams and other stakeholders.

“The technology, teams, and community are remarkable and share the same mission that has motivated me for decades: democratizing access to financial opportunities,” d’Haussy said in a statement. 

The appointment follows dYdX revealing in January that it would launch a new version of the protocol — the mainnet launch of which is scheduled for the second quarter of 2023.

The executive joins the nonprofit from ConsenSys, where he led the company’s growth efforts and global business development in the Asia-Pacific region. Before that, he worked as head of fintech for the Hong Kong government. 

Web3-focused research and development company Edge & Node appointed co-founder Brandon Ramirez as interim CEO. Despite the interim title, a spokesperson told Blockworks that the company is not searching for a new chief executive.

Working as Edge & Node’s head of research and product for the last two years, Ramirez replaces former CEO and co-founder Yaniv Tal, who will continue serving on the company’s board of directors.  

Edge & Node was created by the core protocol team behind The Graph, an indexing protocol for organizing blockchain data. Ramirez co-founded The Graph and was the lead architect of its initial protocol.

“When we started working on The Graph in 2017, developers had to make the difficult choice between building an application that was truly decentralized or one that offered a great user experience,” Ramirez said in a statement. “I’m proud of the role The Graph has played in web3 and…I’m excited to build on that momentum, giving developers and entrepreneurs a powerful decentralized data layer, with open APIs, upon which they can change the world.” 

In case you missed it

NYDIG has laid off about a third of its staff — amounting to roughly 110 people, the Wall Street Journal reported

The reported cuts come after the company completed a $1 billion funding round at a roughly  $7 billion valuation last December, and more recently, raised $720 million for its institutional bitcoin fund

An NYDIG spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

While some crypto companies continue to cut staff, Anchorage Digital is increasing headcount. The crypto platform hired CJ Jouhal as its head of engineering as the company continues its hiring spree despite the crypto market. 

Jouhal, a former chief technology officer at tech company Clear, told Blockworks that he is focused on continuing to scale Anchorage’s team. The company is on track to triple the size of its engineering team this year.


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  • Ben Strack

    Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering macro and crypto-native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Prior to joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for various local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism.

    Contact Ben via email at [email protected]