Mike Novogratz's Galaxy Digital snags former Coinbase OTC head

Tim Plakas, once the leader of over-the-counter (OTC) trading at Coinbase, has left the exchange to bolster Galaxy Digital’s OTC efforts, according to a source close to the situation. It is not yet clear what Plakas’ position will be within Galaxy’s OTC unit.

Plakas' exit leaves Ben Floyd manning Coinbase's OTC desk. Plakas, who joined the firm in July 2018, led the desk prior to Floyd's January arrival at the company as head of OTC. Plakas previously held positions at Citigroup in equity sales and trading and investor relations. The Fordham University graduate served seven years in the United States Air Force, according to his LinkedIn profile. His exit follows a number of other departures in Coinbase's institutional unit, including Christine Sandler, who left to join Fidelity earlier this year, and Hunter Merghart, who recently joined rival exchange Bitstamp from Coinbase. 

In the fall of 2018, Coinbase announced the launch of its OTC desk as a way for institutions to enter crypto trading. The OTC model is a more attractive point of entry for some institutions since transactions are brokered privately between buyers and sellers. Coinbase's plan to launch an OTC business was in the works before Plakas was brought on, but came to fruition during his time there.

In March, CoinDesk reported Coinbase’s OTC desk had facilitated its first trade from cold storage, speeding up the trading process. The business, according to Coinbase, has see volume grow 100% quarter over quarter. 

"Coinbase Pro, OTC and Custody are some of the areas we’re most aggressively growing headcount this year," the firm said in late April. 

As for Galaxy, it is a member of the CORA group with other OTC-focused companies seeking to to further talks around settlement standards for over-the-counter trading. Other members of the Galaxy team include Joshua Lim, head of trading strategy. He previously was a director at UBS, where he worked on its central risk book.