Silvergate hires former Blockstream exec as its first-ever director of digital currency

California state-chartered Silvergate Bank has hired Benjamin Richman, former director of business development and partnerships at Blockstream, to fill the bank's newly created position of director of digital currency. 

Richman joined Blockstream in 2017 and was responsible for growing the company's Liquid Network, a sidechain-based settlement network similar to Silvergate's own Silvergate Exchange Network.

"[Richman's] deep understanding of the digital currency industry and the digital currency infrastructure solutions we are building will be a tremendous asset," said Silvergate COO Kate Fraher.

Silvergate has made major steps in recent years to expand into the digital currency field. 

Its exchange network (SEN), which enables real-time, around-the-clock deposits and withdrawal of U.S. dollars, onboarded a number of big-name crypto exchanges including Kraken and Gemini in 2019.

In Jan. 2020, the bank partnered with crypto exchange Bitstamp to launch a new product, SEN Leverage, which allows institutions to trade with leverage collateralized by bitcoin.

According to an SEC filing dated Oct. 28, 2019, the bank now serves over 750 cryptocurrency clients. By creating a designated executive who focuses exclusively on cryptocurrency, the bank signals further commitment in the field. 

"We’re excited about the new products and innovative financial infrastructure solutions we’re developing to assist both investors and exchanges in the digital currency industry," Ben Reynolds, Silvergate's executive vice president of corporate development said in a press statement. "And the business development experience that Benjamin gained at Blockstream will be important to our success.”