Former Radkl employees leave to launch new quant hedge fund

A group of traders from the crypto market-maker Radkl have left the firm to launch their own digital asset-focused quant investment fund.

Dubbed F9 Research, the new fund — led by Jim Greco, Jason Bell, and Allan Erskine — will trade across decentralized and centralized crypto markets, according to a source. Greco will serve as CEO of the new fund. 

"My partners and I left Radkl to found our own cryptocurrency trading business," Greco confirmed to The Block. A source told The Block that F9 Research has lined up more than 30 investors, including several large institutions. Greco declined to comment on the firm's assets under management. 

Greco sits on the board of crypto exchange Gemini and previously held positions at high-speed trading shop Getco. Most recently, he worked for Radkl as its head of trading alongside Bell and Erskine. Bell previously was a managing director at BNY Mellon while Erskine held positions at Citadel, Credit Suisse, and Gemini. 

Radkl, which reportedly counts Steve Cohen as a backer, launched last year as a spin-off of GTS. GTS is known for being a large market maker in US equities and exchange-traded funds and is a designated market maker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. 

The new fund's reveal comes amid the launch of a number of new crypto venture investment funds over the course of the last year, with Paradigm and FTX launching their own multi-billion venture funds. 

Crypto hedge funds, which tend to focus more on liquid bets rather than longer-term private bets in startups, posted strong returns in 2021 compared to their counterparts in traditional markets. 

As reported by The Block, data provided by Hedge Fund Research suggests crypto hedge funds returned 214% in 2021. Bitcoin returned 48.5% over the course of 2021. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index, meanwhile, posted a return of 153.39%. TCAP — a cryptocurrency that leverages oracles to track the entire market — gained 185% in 2021.