Whether cryptocurrencies and the technology that powers them will reshape the financial system remains to be seen. What’s not in doubt is their ability to transform the career paths of bright young minds on Wall Street.
Adrian Xinli Zhang was climbing the ranks at Deutsche Bank AG in New York when he discovered Bitcoin. The 29-year-old made enough money trading digital currencies in his spare time to leave the German bank in March, the same month he was promoted to director, people familiar with the matter said.
At Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Jonathan Cheesman, 36, and Justin Saslaw, 28, are among at least three front-office employees in New York who quit the bank this year after making personal profits from cryptocurrencies, said people with knowledge of the situation, asking not to be identified. In London, Asim Ahmad pocketed enough from investing his savings in Ether to walk away from BlackRock Inc. “I’m in a position where it doesn’t make sense to work at BlackRock anymore,” said Ahmad, who advised pension funds on investments in alternative assets and hedge funds while at the world’s largest asset manager. “The one-day volatility of my portfolio is higher than my salary, so if I get a few investments right then I’ll have made the same as my yearly wage and everything else on top is a bonus.” Officials for BlackRock, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs declined to comment on their employees’ investments or their departures.
While the Wall Street establishment debates whether cryptocurrencies will become a profit center or a legal liability, some employees have gotten wealthy enough from personal investments in digital assets to turn their backs on promising jobs at top firms. A small but growing group of finance professionals has built up a big enough financial cushion to eschew the safety net of a monthly salary. Instead of heading to the beach or squandering their trading proceeds on luxurious living, some of the new digitally-moneyed have become such ardent believers in the power of blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin and other digital assets, that they’re starting their own businesses.
Ahmad says he now helps run a fund that invests in blockchain ventures with a positive social or environmental impact. Zhang is working on a trading platform for digital assets, according to a person familiar with the matter. Read more from bloomberg.com…
thumbnail courtesy of bloomberg.com