Bitstamp, one of the longest-running cryptocurrency exchanges, has hired a former Coinbase executive and Wall Street veteran as its new head of U.S. operations.
Announced Wednesday, Hunter Merghart joined Bitstamp six months after quitting his job as the head of trading at San Francisco-based Coinbase in October. He will lead the opening of the Luxembourg-based exchange’s New York office — the company received a BitLicense from the state last month — and focus on serving institutional clients.
Merghart is “the perfect person to lead our U.S. operations, which includes making sure our retail and institutional investors have a platform and service that is equal to what they would find at any traditional exchange anywhere in the world,” Nejc Kodrič, CEO of Bitstamp, said in a press release.
Bitstamp became the 19th company to obtain a BitLicense, allowing it to serve New York residents. Now it’s planning to expand its business in the U.S., which until now had been in a “passive” phase, as Kodrič told CoinDesk earlier.
Merghart told CoinDesk he “really believes in the strategy that the team has put in place and can’t wait to help execute it.” He added:
“This is an amazing opportunity for me to take what I’ve learned in both traditional finance and crypto to a larger role where I can help grow the U.S. business of the largest European crypto exchange.”
In addition to licensing, Bitstamp has recently gone through some tech upgrades to gear up for serving institutional clients; in particular, it got a new matching engine and a surveillance platform from Cinnober, an IT provider for mainstream financial markets.
Meghart worked only six months at Coinbase, and reportedly left out of frustration over the lack of resources and clarity on the roadmap to building Coinbase’s institutional business, which he was in charge of.
Prior to Coinbase, he worked as a cash equity trader at Credit Suisse, vice president at RBC Capital Markets (part of the Royal Bank of Canada), and then as a director of trading at Barclays.
Nejc Kodrič image courtesy of Bitstamp