Singapore-based bitcoin exchange itBit has announced two new hires it hopes will strengthen its credibility in the traditional financial industry and assure users it is being responsible with their funds.
Together they bring expertise from the mainstream payments industry and other sections of the bitcoin economy to the young Asian exchange.
Erik Wilgenhof Plante
The first new hire is Erik Wilgenhof Plante, who takes on the newly created position of chief compliance officer.
Wilgenhof Plante was previously responsible for compliance at PayPal across Southeast Asia, and has 15 years' total experience in law and banking at companies like DZ Privatbank, Clariden Leu, Commerzbank and ABN AMRO.
He is also network chairman and fellow of the International Compliance Association, a Financial Industry Certified Professional, and a founding board member of the Singapore chapter of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists.
Writing on the company blog, Wilgenhof Plante said that building trust was key to success with both institutional and retail investors and this was itBit's key focus:
"With trust comes regulation, as it's very hard to create this trust," he said, continuing:
He gave Singapore as an example of one country where such desirable regulation was being investigated. Bitcoin would not replace the financial industry, he said, but needed to connect with it all the same.
The second new hire is Bobby Cho, who will be a New York-based director focused on business development.
Cho was at SecondMarket for six years as a trader in illiquid financial products including bitcoin. In addition, he is active on the bitcoin scene and a regular on the speaker circuit.
itBit CEO and co-founder Rich Teo commented:
“Coming from a traditional Wall Street environment, I see the huge opportunity for a credible, regulated bitcoin exchange to make a significant impact on the growth of the bitcoin ecosystem,” added Cho.
As a bitcoin exchange, itBit's gaze has always been directed mainly towards the financial industry, with high net worth and institutional investors its primary target customers. To attract these customers it has maintained an emphasis on regulation and security.
The exchange recently announced it would "soak up" international bank transfer fees at the Singapore end on incoming transfers over $2,500, for its customers outside Singapore (who also tend to be the larger investors). About 50% of its clientele is based in Singapore, where local bank transfers are free.
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