Former JPMorgan, Barclays execs on why crypto jobs attractive even in bear market

Former traditional finance veterans are debuting a crypto career at the crypto ETF issuer 21Shares despite the bear market.

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Despite the ongoing cryptocurrency market decline and associated forced layoffs in major crypto firms, a career in crypto doesn’t turn less attractive to many traditional finance executives.

European crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider 21Shares announced three major hires on Wednesday to expand its presence in countries like France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.

Marina Baudéan, 21Shares’ newly appointed head of France, Belgium and Luxembourg, is debuting her crypto career after working for more than 15 years at the British universal bank Barclays.

Baudéan is confident that crypto is “all about the next generation of technology,” and it’s here to stay despite market fluctuations or other issues. Having witnessed many technological changes throughout her career, she drew parallels between crypto and the early days of digital trading, stating:

“I began my career in Electronic Fixed Income Trading back in 2000, when traders told me they would never trade electronically. Over twenty years later, this market is now very much electronic.”

“Making the move from traditional finance to crypto was a natural progression to me,” Baudéan said in an interview with Cointelegraph, adding that the growth and momentum around crypto made her eager to move into crypto.

Oliver Schäfer, 21Shares’ new head of Germany, also joined the crypto ETF firm with a solid traditional finance background, bringing decades of experience across major financial firms. Prior to starting a crypto career, Schäfer spent more than 15 years at the American investment bank JPMorgan.

“I believe in the long-term opportunity of crypto — the asset class is growing and is only in its early days, so I am focused on the long-term opportunity versus the short-term market conditions,” Schäfer said, adding that it is an “exciting time to be in crypto,” Schäfer noted that he first invested in crypto in 2020, eventually growing more interested in the technology and industry developments.

Despite JPMorgan actively taking part in the crypto industry, CEO Jamie Dimon is known for some notable criticism of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). To this, Schäfer — former JPMorgan’s executive director — noted that many institutions have adopted crypto assets after initially being skeptical about them, stating:

“It’s important to remember that across the course of history, many people have been initially skeptical about technological developments before they were adopted in the mainstream — like with computers and cell phones. This is the natural course of technological advancements.”

Sherif El-Haddad, former head of asset management at Dubai-based Al Mal Asset Management, has joined 21Shares as head of the Middle East.

Related: OpenSea lays off 20% of its staff, citing ‘crypto winter’

“I believe in the underlying fundamentals of cryptocurrencies and the growth it is expected to witness over the next decade, and I positioned myself accordingly,” El-Haddad said. He also mentioned that he attempted to launch a physically-backed crypto ETF at Al Mal, but his proposal was not approved. He added:

“Cryptocurrencies have been well received globally by retail investors and the expectation is that institutional and ultra-high net worth are now moving in buying after the recent price correction.”

The new hirings by 21Shares are another evidence that the crypto job market has been holding strong despite the bear market and a massive wave of layoffs.

Major crypto companies, including big names like Coinbase and Gemini, decided to lay off up to 20% of its workforce so far, citing tough market conditions and the beginning of an economic recession. In contrast, many crypto firms FTX or the Binance crypto exchange continued to hire more talent during the ongoing crypto winter.

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