BlockFi Taps Merrill Lynch’s Rishi Ramchandani to Lead Business in Asia

Rishi joins a growing list of bankers that have made the jump to the provider of crypto-backed lending products.

BlockFi, a provider of crypto-backed lending products, has hired former trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Fintech entrepreneur Rishi Ramchandani to lead its business development in Asia.

Asia already represents the biggest cryptocurrency market in the world, and the adoption of blockchain and crypto is showing no signs of slowing down. With almost 13 years of experience in traditional finance within the region, Ramchandani will be tasked with expanding BlockFi’s presence and growing its institutional partnerships and client roster in Asian markets.

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According to the company’s website, the BlockFi crypto lending platform has attracted so far over $800 million in deposits from retail, corporate, and institutional crypto investors.

During his 10-year stint at Merrill Lynch, Rishi was responsible for algorithm trading support to the Hong Kong portfolio trading desk and global clients trading in the Asia Pacific region.

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After a decade at the US investment bank in both New York and Hong Kong, Ramchandani relocated to Singapore to kick off his entrepreneurial journey. In 2018, he co-founded PinAlpha, an AI-powered financial research platform utilizing technology to automate fundamental analysis. His most recent venture was the launch of a financial coaching company called Cafe Cash Flow.

“Institutional support and adoption for crypto has soared among traditional investors, proving it to be a desired and valuable asset class. Yet in markets across Asia, which have been early adopters of crypto, there is an untapped opportunity to capitalize on and evolve institutional trading strategies,” said Ramchandani.

Rishi joins a 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.

New York-based BlockFi has also hired former American Express executive Witney Rachlin and David Olsson, who until recently managed teams at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse covering prime brokerage and equity derivatives. They are now 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.

“As investors look to hedge market positions, especially in times of uncertainty, crypto will likely be one of the most confident investments a traditional institutional investor like a hedge fund or family office could make. With Rishi Ramchandani on board, and his wealth of knowledge on the various trading cultures and regulations in these markets, BlockFi is well-poised to lead the charge in Asia,” said Zac Prince, founder and CEO of BlockFi.

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