Banking veterans who have steered divisions at HSBC, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch in the Asia-Pacific region are ditching traditional finance to invest in cryptocurrencies.

  • People familiar with the matter told CoinDesk that Joseph Chang, head of equities trading and prime finance at Merrill Lynch, HSBC and Citigroup Asia-Pacific from 1997 to 2016, and Grahame Webb, head of technology from 2013 to 2018 for HSBC and Citigroup Asia-Pacific prime finance and securities services, have been trading cryptocurrencies since June through a new Hong Kong-based fund, Liquibit Capital.
  • Liquibit Capital, also managed by a former Barclays Capital vice president and two current JPMorgan and Wells Fargo technicians, will manage assets worth $50 million, the people said.
  • Liquibit is said to arbitrage a portfolio of bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin and eos, custodied with Fireblocks.
  • It is expected to expand to trading derivatives, options and futures on BitMEX, Huobi, OKEx and Deribit – cryptocurrency exchanges with a largely Asia-based presence.
  • Chang, now Liquibit Capital's chief investment officer, said regulatory bloat and a surplus of middlemen while trading at investment banks convinced him and his partners to switch to cryptocurrency markets.
  • Webb, chief technology and operating officer at Liquibit Capital, has also previously structured custody and clearing architecture for securities flowing between wealth managers.

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