Crypto Facilities names new CEO as founder Timo Schlaefer steps down

Crypto Facilities, the crypto derivatives platform acquired by crypto exchange Kraken, has promoted Gary Worrall to the rank of CEO following the departure of founder and former boss Timo Schlaefer, The Block has learned.

Worrall joined the startup in 2018 as head of operations after spending close to five years at Smarkets, the sports betting exchange. He was cleared by the Financial Conduct Authority to take over as Crypto Facilities' chief executive in early February.

A regulatory filing shows that Schlaefer, who founded the business in early 2015, resigned as a director on February 12. He will remain an advisor to the business.


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“I think this is a very exciting time, especially on the institutional side,” said Worrall in an interview with The Block. “As we’ve all seen in crypto over the past few months, trading volumes are much higher, interest has grown significantly, and we’re seeing that too.”

Crypto Facilities was acquired by Kraken in early 2019 for a sum rumoured to be upwards of $100 million. Crypto Facilities then obtained obtain a Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) license from the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK regulator, in June of last year. That effectively allowed the firm to begin offering a regulated futures venue to institutions.

“We’re ideally positioned to take advantage of the growing institutional interest. [The MTF license] will allow us to further expand our product offering in a way that meets the high compliance standards our clients expect,” said Worrall in a statement.

One potential expansion area, according to Worrall, is a bitcoin-euro contract that would be collateralized and settled in euros. But this product remains subject to regulatory approval. At present, the five cryptocurrency contracts that Crypto Facilities supports are denominated in U.S. dollars. 

About Author

Ryan Weeks is deals editor at the The Block, focused on fundraising, M&A and institutional trends in the crypto space, among other things. He is particularly interested in investigative work — so please send tips! Ryan previously worked at Financial News, Dow Jones as a fintech correspondent in London. Prior to that, he wrote for several different publications, including Sifted, AltFi and Wired. Beyond journalism, Ryan is a keen reader and writer. He enjoys all things active, especially running, rugby, climbing and tennis.