Is the Exodus from Wall Street to Crypto Reversing? Jamie Selway Leaves Blockchain

Jamie Selway, the former Head of Electronic Brokerage and Execution Services Investment Technology Group (ITG), co-founder of White Cap Trading, and former Chief Economist at Archipelago (acquired by the NYSE) is leaving crypto wallet and app developer Blockchain where he was brought in as Global Head of Institutional Markets in August of 2018, The Block reports.

According to report, the departure is a, “…sign that firms and executives across the crypto market are finding building institutional-aimed businesses a tough egg to crack.”

A press release from Blockchain says that Selway was inducted because of numerous institutional and regulator contacts (including staff at the SEC), which he accumulated when also working as, “…Director of the BATS Exchange…a member of SIFMA’s Equity Markets and Trading Committee, the Nasdaq Quality of Markets Committee, and the NYSE Euronext Market Structure Advisory Committee.”

Blockchain CEO and co-founder Peter Smith also claimed at the time of hire:

“Jamie has spent decades building world leading market infrastructure, and I’m proud to welcome him to Blockchain where he will drive the development of products to serve our institutional customers.”

Last year’s boom in crypto prices was at least partially driven by rumours that large amounts of institutional dollars would soon be pouring into crypto.

Word was that retail investors should get in before “the Big Boys” arrive.

Pundits on social media have even suggested that institutional players may have somehow strategically placed downward pressure on crypto prices throughout the bear market of 2018 in an attempt to get the “assets” at a reduced price.

Most cryptos are now down an average of 80-95% since late 2017 highs.

But the price corrections of 2018 have also allowed substantial sobering news to be heard above 2017’s exuberant clamour.

News of billions in crypto hacked from individuals and exchanges and stories of billions in insider trades on Korean exchanges used to pump crypto prices and exchange action in late 2017 may now be reaching investors, both institutional and retail.

“Blockchain technology” has also failed to bear promised fruit, and institutions have reportedly learned that costly and slow “blockchain” payment systems rarely outperform legacy ones.

Institutional interest appears to have waned at Blockchain, and Selway reportedly departs as the company, “…targets crypto-native firms…(Blockchain’s) custody offering has a number of crypto firms as clients. Xen Baynham-Herd, a former UBS executive and long-time Blockchain employee, has taken on Selway’s role.”

In October 2018, international banking and investment conglomerate Barclays suspended its internal study into the possibility of creating a cryptocurrency trading desk within the organization, according to a story in Financial News London.

Earlier this year, rumours surfaced that Barclays had assembled a team of four executives tasked with, “assess(ing) the long-term viability of cryptocurrencies as an asset class…(and) looking at demand for cryptocurrencies among the bank’s clients and the kind of IT infrastructure that would be needed to support trading.”

The Financial News could not determine exactly what conclusions Barclays or its executives had come to regarding the proposed desk, but the leader of the bank’s “digital assets project,” Chris Tyrer, reportedly left Barclays in September 2018 after the project was shut down.

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