Crypto hiring: DCG hires new CFO, BitGo taps former Genesis exec

Major companies in the crypto space added key staff this week, with one of them making a C-suite level addition.

Digital Currency Group (DCG) hired Mark Shifke as chief financial officer to replace Michael Kraines, who stepped down in April. 

DCG had a tough start to the year, especially with its subsidiary Genesis going bankrupt in January. The firm is still wrapped up in litigation with Gemini and Genesis over $1.1 billion it allegedly owes.

Shifke was dubbed an “M&A specialist” by Reuters for spending around nine years working on mergers and acquisitions at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs. Shifke even has experience as a CFO, serving in that position at both Billtrust and Green Dot Corporation. 

With the next hire, Genesis again has a connection.

BitGo, a digital asset custody provider, is bringing on former Genesis executive Matthew Ballensweig to serve as managing director of the newly launched Go Network. 

The Go Network is BitGo’s platform to grant institutions access to “liquidity and securely settle trading transactions across a multitude of venues through one platform,” according to a press release shared with Blockworks. 

Ballensweig will “spearhead” the development of that product, leveraging his years of experience shaping Genesis’s digital asset prime-services business. 

Ballensweig spent nearly five and a half years at Genesis. His last position was as co-head of trading and lending. He left that post in September 2022, thereby avoiding being around when the firm succumbed to its financial troubles. 

Ballensweig was also a senior analyst at hedge fund Bridgewater Associates for over three years. 

BitGo CEO Mike Belshe said he feels confident with Ballensweig at the helm of Go Network given his wealth of experience with institutional digital asset trading. 

“Matt’s depth of understanding and his client relationships, combined with his vision to enhance liquidity and settlement products, will significantly contribute to the commercialization of Go Network,” Belshe said. 

Layoffs and departures abound

Investment and asset management giant State Street is losing its head of custody for digital assets. 

Swen Werner is leaving the company after eight years. He served in a variety of crypto and blockchain-related roles and has been based in London. Earlier in his career, Werner held director-level positions at JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank. 

In a LinkedIn post, Werner cited “personal matters” as the reason why he can’t immerse himself in the industry to the extent he wants to at this time. 

State Street told Bloomberg Law that Werner’s replacement would be announced “in due course.”

Read more: State Street sees ‘significant opportunity’ in tokenization

Shifting over to the Web3 media landscape, NFT Now has cut staff due to changing market conditions. 

The announcement came on Monday via NFT Now President Alejandro Navia, who claimed the tokenized media company saw “rapid growth” during the bull run. 

“Given the current climate, it is clear that this pace of growth was unsustainable and we over-hired. As president, I take full ownership of this mistake,” Navia wrote on Twitter.

Navia didn’t specify how many employees were let go, and NFT Now didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

Other notable hires

  • Crypto investment firm Coinfund has shaken up the structure of its in-house legal team, hiring Dilveer Vahali for the newly created position of head of venture legal, Blockworks reported Wednesday.
  • Sarah Breeden, who worked on the Bank of England’s CBDC task force, will assume the role of deputy governor at the central bank on Nov. 1, 2023.
  • Bitcoin Magazine tapped Mark Goodwin to serve as editor in chief.
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