Banking giant Citigroup is hiring a digital assets risk manager to focus on cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and decentralized finance, according to a job posting on the firm’s website.
While it’s just one of many open roles focused on digital assets at the company, Citi is among the first major banks to take aim at decentralized finance — a sub-sector of crypto that, as recent events involving Terra and Three Arrows Capital have shown, can be perilous to navigate.
Citi is currently hiring for two digital asset risk managers at a director level, per the website. One will specialize in decentralized finance, stablecoins and cryptocurrencies, while the other will be focused on CBDCs, digital securities and enterprise blockchain.
Both risk managers will have responsibilities that include marshalling “a robust, risk-sensitive and unified risk management view and response” to initiatives, pilots, proof of concepts and strategic partnerships, according to the postings.
"Risk management in decentralized finance is really much more complex than what you see in traditional finance — this is why they [Citi] need a person dedicated to simply understanding and reasoning about it," said Tarun Chitra, founder and CEO of crypto financial risk modelling tool Gauntlet, in an email. "However, the roles seem quite non-technical, so I suspect this is more of an investigation into how to support these markets."
In a resurgent crypto market, DeFi will likely provide a better alternative to traditional yields, Chitra said. But any bank looking to offer exposure to DeFi would likely have to go through regulated channels that carry out proper know-your-customer checks, like Aave Arc, he added.
Citi's major crypto hiring push
Hiring is also taking place for multiple product positions and for a head of platforms role within the digital assets division of Citi’s Institutional Client Group (ICG). There are also digital assets roles within treasury trade solutions and the custody technology teams.
The flurry of job postings comes as part of the firm’s broad push for fresh crypto talent. In November 2021, The Block reported the firm planned to hire up to 100 individuals to build out its ICG digital assets division.
Citi has emerged as a launchpad for top level executives moving into the crypto industry. The Block reported in April that at least 15 executives had left the bank for top jobs at crypto firms like Copper, Paxos and CoinFund.
"The participants that engage in a market when it's down are the ones that stand to gain the most," said the founder of a leading DeFi protocol, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "And so they [Citi] probably view this as a favourable time to begin hiring."
An arms race
Citi isn’t the only big investment bank doubling down on crypto hiring during the bear market.
The Block recently reported that banking giant Morgan Stanley is looking to hire a product development manager with a focus on building a wide range of new crypto products across business lines.
However, Bitwise’s CEO Hunter Horsley cautioned observers to curb their enthusiasm on the recent posting. “Hiring a mid-level person to work on something like this doesn’t guarantee a product comes to market,” he said.
Bank of America also recently launched a new markets team dedicated to cryptocurrencies, while investment banking titan JPMorgan staked a claim in the metaverse with a Decentraland lounge named after its crypto-focused team Onyx.
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