Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange operator, is announcing later on Wednesday a big hire from the stock exchange world.
The firm, which was founded by the Winklevoss twins, in recent weeks brought on Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto, the former chief-operating officer of International Securities Exchange, the options marketplace acquired by Nasdaq in 2016. The Trade Crypto previously reported on the hire, but didn't mention specific details about her role.
Hightower-Sellitto, who originally joined ISE as a relationship manager in 2004, is now a managing director covering operations at Gemini. Her responsibilities span the firm's numerous business lines, according to a person familiar with the hire. Still, her main focus is on enhancing the firm's institutional aimed businesses to attract larger financial firms to the marketplace, the person said. Founded in 2014, Gemini commands less than 1% of the crypto exchange trading market, per CoinMarketCap data. Still, it has built a reputation for being more cautious than its rivals Kraken and Coinbase, listing only three assets. It also was one of the first exchanges to offer large block trades for institutional clients as well as colocation services for high-frequency trading firms. It also partnered with Cboe Global Markets, the US options exchange, behind one of the first markets for bitcoin futures.
Hightower-Sellitto will oversee initiatives such as developing client-specific customer service teams to better serve asset managers and hedge funds trading on the exchange, a person familiar with the hire said. Right now customer service representatives cover a wide-range of clients, spanning retail brokerage, asset management, and hedge fund clients, to name a few. She will also leverage her experience from the securities world to explore things such as building out market-data capabilities and ways to evaluate trade execution, the person added.
The announcement of Hightower-Selitto's hire closely follows a similar one by Coinbase, its California-rival. As The Block first reported, Coinbase will bring on Jonathan Kellner, the CEO of institutional brokerage Instinet, to fill a similar role as head of institutional support and sales in 2019.
As for Hightower-Sellitto, the 20-year financial services veteran got her start in investment banking at Wachovia Securities.
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