Cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp USA said an influx of hires from Wall Street has helped expand its talent pool and boost the gender diversity of its staff.
“Every time we post an opportunity or a role, we get tremendous inbound interest, mostly from people in traditional financial-services companies,” Robert Zagotta, chief executive officer of Bitstamp USA, said in an interview. “One of the reasons this is very positive for us is it also brings a higher level of diversity into the talent pool.”
Even as Bitstamp hires more women, the male-dominated digital-currency industry struggles with its “crypto bro” reputation. Last week, Bain Capital Ventures drew backlash on Twitter when it announced an all-male founding team for a new crypto fund. Executive Stefan Cohen later apologized, and promised to hire and invest in women and people of color.
At Bitstamp USA, a unit of one of the oldest active crypto exchanges, women have made up 60% of new hires so far this year, a big jump from 37% in 2021. “That’s notable in the space, unfortunately,” Zagotta said.
Wall Street has endured an exodus as bankers move to positions at crypto-related firms. Meanwhile, the biggest U.S. banks continue to face pressure to improve diversity of leadership and elevate more women executives. Female board representation is stalling, and Citigroup Inc.’s Jane Fraser is the only woman ever to have been CEO at one of those firms.
Bitstamp’s chief commercial officer, Mel Tsiaprazis, has worked at Lloyds Banking Group Plc. Other female executives who jumped to the emerging industry include Citigroup’s co-head of futures, clearing and foreign-exchange prime-brokerage, Sabrina Wilson, who joined crypto custody firm Copper as chief operating officer. Coinbase Global Inc. Chief Financial Officer Alesia Haas was formerly at Och-Ziff Capital Management.
Candidates with markets-related backgrounds, such as equities, derivatives or asset management, have particularly relevant knowledge for Bitstamp’s operations, said Zagotta, who previously worked at CME Group Inc. His firm is pushing to provide crypto access for companies such as banks, brokers and fintechs.
Globally, Bitstamp Ltd. is serving more female customers amid the hiring push. Its retail-client base was 12% female in 2021, up from as little as 3% in 2016.
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