Crypto asset manager Grayscale Investments has expanded its executive team amid an ongoing surge in its assets under management, the firm revealed exclusively to The Block.
Listen to Michael Sonnenshein's full conversation with The Block's Frank Chaparro below:
Grayscale – known for being the largest asset manager in the crypto space – announced three additions to its C-suite. Hugh Ross, a former hedge fund executive who joins from New York-based Horizon Kinetics LLCs, has been named chief operating officer. Benjamin Melnicki is Grayscale's new chief compliance officer, having joined from Ripple, where he served as regulatory affairs and regulatory counsel for the Americas. Finally, Grayscale has brought in Angela Kuo, formerly of SecondMarket, as chief people officer.
Newly-minted chief executive officer Michael Sonnenshein tells The Block that the hires come as Grayscale aims to double its headcount -- which currently stands at 30 -- over the course of 2021. In a new episode of The Scoop, Sonnenshein said that Grayscale is "really looking to expand across its sales team, marketing team, engineering team, ops team."
Sonnenshein took the reins of Grayscale as CEO earlier this year. Previously, the firm was run by Barry Silbert, who leads Digital Currency Group, its parent company.
That Grayscale wants to grow its ranks is perhaps unsurprising, given a surge in the assets under management across its suite of crypto funds, including the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC). Data compiled by The Block indicates that GBTC's AUM stands above $31 billion.
Grayscale has brought in more than $63 million in February in fees from GBTC as well as the Ethereum Trust (ETHE), according to estimates.
Sonnenshein told The Block that the new hires would help the firm maintain the momentum it rode during 2020.
And the move is perhaps a timely one, given that companies like BlockFi and Osprey are advancing investment funds that could eat into Grayscale's business.
"We brought in $5.7 billion last year," Sonnenshein said. "We are launching new products, we are investing in technology, we're building out the various teams, it's really about continuing to stay ahead of the growth we are experiencing at really an unprecedented rate."
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