Razor-sharp, crypto market makers are the new places to be


Forget about hedge funds. Maybe even forget about working for established electronic market makers like Jane Street and Citadel Securities. In the New World Order, it’s all about working for a crypto market building company.

As crypto and decentralized finance take off, headhunters claim that crypto market-building firms are adding top people across the market and hedge funds are being left behind. “Hedge funds, who don’t care about hedge funds,” says a former FX professional working in the field. “It’s the crypto market-making companies that matter. Hedge funds are all five years behind.”

The crypto market making ecosystem is diffuse, with different players in different markets. In London, Wintermute Trading is important and B2C2 is growing, as is Enigma Securities. Globally, major players include GSR (recruiting in the US, London and Singapore), Kraken or Kairon Labs (based in Belgium), among others. Most are recruiting. Jobs can be very lucrative indeed.

“Almost all of these crypto market-building companies have big deposits of money,” said a local headhunter, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They pay at least twice a year, and often every month.”

London-based B2C2 was founded by Maxime Boonen, a former associate swap trader at Goldman Sachs, who left to set up the company in 2015. She has just moved to a new office in London and has hired 64 people this year, more than double the 56 employees 12 months ago. Many of his new hires have investment banking backgrounds, including Kento Yamazaki, former OTC derivatives analyst at JPMorgan, who has joined Tokyo; or Tom Durrant, a former Morgan Stanley salesman, Fenni Kang, a former Barclays quantitative trader, or Sukvinder Banwait, a former middle office analyst at Goldman Sachs – all of whom have moved to London.

Crypto market makers also tend to hire systematic hedge funds or e-commerce companies like Optiver. Wintermute hired Adam Roberts from Systematic GAM in June. Enigma Securities hired Roy Tse, its US COO of Waterfall Asset Management in April.

Historically, Mike Burton, a crypto headhunter at research firm Figtree, claims that many people joining crypto market makers had no background in finance. “The vast majority of crypto traders at this point have evolved into their own ecosystem from highly and highly technical academic backgrounds and AI / ML developer groups,” Burton explains. “Remember, this generation of crypto believers has a set of beliefs that are often incompatible with working for banks.”

This changes as the manufacturers of the crypto market expand. “More and more, we are seeing crypto firms willing to hire people with no specific experience selling or trading crypto, but who are willing to take the tradfi leap,” Burton adds. “In a lot of cases, they’ll have a very derivative focus, whether it’s currencies, commodities, or stocks. Less in the rate space where duration is so relevant – but as long as they’ve entered privately. in the crypto rabbit hole, they might fit. It’s more about being a believer. “

Sniffing out an opportunity, headhunters flock to the area. Toby Hill, a crypto recruiter at Selby Jennings, said the demand for people capable of working on crypto trading algorithms is increasing at an “unrealistic rate” as hedge funds and electronic market makers also jump in. in the asset class. Many are asking for three years of validated experience, says Hill – although this is unrealistic given the dearth of candidates who meet those criteria.

Crypto trading is not risk taking. Burton says crypto market makers are fundamentally averse to risk and that is arbitrage. “For many crypto market makers, taking any kind of significant directional risk is not their game,” he says. “They have very high quality algo models that allow them to arbitrate between sites and time zones and base trading with futures. In a super volatile asset class with a huge amount of liquidity in the private wallets that come in and out of traditional exchanges and OTC traders you cannot be overly directionally exposed.

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