With No Influx of New Institutional Investors, Jamie Selway Parts Ways with Blockchain.com


As last year ended, there were many investors and analysts in the crypto industry that believed that there would soon be an end to the bear market that they’d been experiencing. Experts said that the leading cause of the upswing predicted would be a new influx of institutional investors. However, this has not been the case, which has let the global head of institutional markets at Blockchain.com, Jamie Selway, to leave the company.

Selway, who is known to Wall Street as a trading veteran, only joined the firm in August, according to a report from The Block. However, the publication suggests that his departure could mean that the institutional investors are not as easy of an audience to get involved, which many firms and executives are only just learning.

Blockchain.com is the home of over 32 million crypto wallets, and their main focus lately has been to bring in large investors and proprietary traders, according to The Financial Times. Ultimately, they had an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk in the works, institutional custody, and an exchange platform that would help the larger investing firms. The OTC desk was launched already this year, but the launch of an exchange, which would be followed with the integration of the trading desk, is an idea that still has not come into fruition.

The institutional business goals have changed as well, considering how interest has chained. Blockchain.com and similar businesses are seeking out institutional executives to create a connection between the two industries, which has led to some progress. Ultimately, these efforts haven’t gone the way that platforms predicted, and Selway’s vacant position has been filled by Xen Baynham-Herb, who used to work as an executive for UBS, but has most recently been with Blockchain for quite some time.

In a statement released by Blockchain.com, the firm stated, “Jamie has deep expertise in the institutional market and is a leader in that field. However, that segment has been slower to develop while the needs of professional investors have grown over the last year. Our team is focused on supporting clients by offering the best execution on trades, custody solutions, and managed products. Xen Baynham-Herd, our longtime head of markets, will continue to lead the team with support from former Goldman partner, Charlie McGarraugh.”

Coinbase has had a similar fate, focusing their energy towards Wall Street over the last few months. However, they have since directed their attention back to the crypto sector with hedge funds and other projects. As a result of the change in direction, Coinbase did not onboard former CEO of Instinet Jonathan Kellner as originally planned. At the time, Kellner was going to help build out the institutional side of Coinbase’s business.

The current CEO of Blockchain, Peter Smith, sat down for an interview with The Block last week, discussing how the professionals, rather than the institutions, were presently getting the most attention. Smith explained,

“We think it’s much more likely that large family offices, high-net-worth individuals, and other crypto companies or projects are the end-state constituents. Our sales and go-to-market approach since we launched the institutional product has been to focus on those three…It’s going to continue to be retail-led and ecosystem-led, even after the first wave of institutions join.”

When Selway originally joined Blockchain.com, he was leaving Wall Street’s ITG, where he was heading up the electronic brokerage and execution services. He has also worked with Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman and Coinbase’s Christine Sandler.

Even though Blockchain.com has lost Selway, they still have several former Wall Street Executives on staff. One of the most notable is Breanne Madigan, who used to work at Goldman Sachs.

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