One of the first prospective crypto banks in the United States is hiring its C-suite.
Avanti Financial Group, the first firm to announce its application to be a special purpose depository institution in Wyoming, announced five new executive hires who will also be co-founders on Tuesday, including Bitcoin Core developer Bryan Bishop and Figure Technology’s Zev Shimko.
“It was important to find people with experience in both crypto and traditional finance services because the two are so different,” Caitlin Long, CEO of Avanti, told CoinDesk. “It’s hard to find an innovator in the core banking business, but we needed one because we’ll be integrating crypto with core banking software.”
A SPDI bank looks like a regular custody bank without the ability to lend. SPDI banks regulated by the Wyoming Division of Banking can offer services for digital assets without the oversight of the risk adverse U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Bishop is coming on as the firm’s chief technology officer. In 2018, Bishop was a senior blockchain engineer and custody architect at LedgerX, the first Commodity Futures Trading Commission-regulated options exchange and clearinghouse for digital assets. He has also created Bitcoin Vaults, a pre-signed anti-theft recovery and drawback mechanism for bitcoin.
“For everybody, crypto custody is a given core skills set,” Long said. “The fact that Bryan has already done this at LedgerX puts him in a small group of people who have built secure crypto custody platforms that are proven in the marketplace and have survived daily attacks from adversaries.”
Community banking veteran Britney Reddy will become the bank’s chief of banking operations and chief financial officer. Reddy has held CEO, president, CTO, CCO and COO roles at multiple Wyoming banks.
Shimko, who was a director at Figure, will become Avanti’s chief operating officer. Before Figure, Shimko was head of corporate development at SALT, a crypto-backed lender. Shimko began his career at Morgan Stanley in global capital markets.
Former Blockchain Consulting CEO and LedgerX Chief Compliance Officer Chuck Thompson is joining the firm as chief legal officer. Prior to that, he was in-house counsel at multiple capital markets firms, including Morgan Stanley.
In February, Avanti announced it was teaming up with blockchain technology startup Blockstream to provide payment, custody, securities and commodities activities for institutional customers using digital assets. The bank plans to launch in early 2021, pending the approval of its SPDI charter by the Wyoming Division of Banking. The bank has eight products in the pipeline that are not currently available in the U.S. market, including a custody solution for security tokens.