David Olsson, who until recently managed teams at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse covering prime brokerage and equity derivatives, was appointed Global Managing Director at BlockFi, a provider of crypto-backed lending products.
Assuming his new role with immediate effect, Olsson will head BlockFi’s distribution activities, including institutional services business development, risk management, and sales strategy, across European and Asian markets. He brings over two decades of experience in the banking sector, having recently served at Credit Suisse. He ran the Swiss lender’s private banking team focused on wealthy clients, providing them with holistic portfolio advice from investments to financing.
“Traditional financial markets today are going through unique hurdles that have proved, and continue to prove, to be a challenge to overcome. However, with this, there is also opportunity, and a door has been opened for new solutions and infrastructures, like blockchain technology, to shine,” said Olsson.
Crypo lures old-school veterans
New York-based BlockFi has also hired former American Express executive Witney Rachlin as chief growth officer. She will be tasked with several aspects of the business, including the launch of products in the payments space such a Bitcoin rewards credit card slated to launch later this year.
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Both Rachlin and Olsson join the growing list of bankers and executives from traditional financial companies that have made the jump to the crypto industry. After their long career across the mainstream industries, several veterans were enticed to join crypto firms by the appeal of working in a fast-growing nascent industry where a background in traditional finance can be a big advantage.
BlockFi is backed by billionaire Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Capital, which, in 2018, raised nearly $58 million in various funding rounds. The Winklevoss twins’ Gemini exchange is also providing custody of BlockFi accounts, which recently added digital asset insurance coverage.
According to the company’s website, the BlockFi crypto lending platform has attracted so far over $650 million in deposits from retail, corporate, and institutional crypto investors.
“The crypto financial services space is maturing and we can see a clear turning point today where traditional finance is being outpaced by digital. Savvy veterans of the old guard will continue to look to alternative technologies and digital currencies to build what the next frontier of finance will look like,” said Zac Prince, CEO and Co-Founder, BlockFi.