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Bringing Tradfi Expertise to Unizen, CBDO of Unizen James Taylor. Image source: FX-Markets
BNY Mellon’s Global Head of Electronic Foreign Exchange Sales is moving on to pastures new. James Taylor, who previously served as Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase, has joined the Unizen Smart Exchange Ecosystem as Chief Business Development Officer.
For fintech veteran Taylor, the role represents a first foray into the booming world of cryptocurrencies. The newly-created position will challenge Taylor to drum up institutional interest in Unizen, a platform that combines elements of centralized and decentralized exchanges to furnish traders with deeper liquidity and tighter spreads.
Institutional Interest Heats Up
According to US exchange Coinbase, institutional crypto holdings soared by 170% in the first quarter as major players moved to add Bitcoin to their balance sheets. One of the major stories in crypto concerned Tesla’s decision to purchase $1.5 billion of Bitcoin, although Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and even BNY Mellon also made positive noises about following suit.
Unizen is one of many emerging crypto venues keen to ensure the institutional trend continues. Notable for its high degree of regulatory compliance and competitive listings, the Binance Cloud-powered exchange represents a one-stop shop for traders, supporting everything from cross-chain swaps and limit orders to trustless trading and yield farming.
One might wonder what attracted Taylor to the notoriously volatile world of cryptocurrencies. The banking industry expert’s CV incorporates major players, from Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital to Salomon Brothers. According to Taylor, his new colleagues were a big part of his decision to step down from BNY Mellon after almost four years.
“Without a doubt, the team is top notch in terms of talent – but what impresses me the most is the moral philosophy I see applied by all,” said Taylor, who aims to bring Unizen to a much wider audience.
“I’m very excited by our ambition to be the universal and unified gateway through which traditional financial market participants access new digital asset marketplaces.”
On the face of it, Unizen won’t be a hard sell for institutional investors: the platform recently partnered with globally compliant decentralized capital market AllianceBlock, a protocol led by an experienced team of ex-JP Morgan, Barclays, BNP Paribas, and Goldman Sachs investment bankers. That particular partnership strengthens Unizen’s vision of connecting traditional finance (tradfi) with its decentralized counterpart (defi), with one result being improved KYC/AML procedures for all defi modules.
Crypto Exchanges Are Hiring Top Talent
Although Unizen’s appointment of Taylor is quite the coup, it reflects a growing custom among digital trading platforms, whose HR endeavors have gone into overdrive in the last 12 months. Last year, crypto payment solution Zumo appointed former Barclaycard executive Dagmara Alridge and Coinbase recently hired the former SEC Director Brett Redfearn to run its Capital Markets division.
As more institutional investors start participating in the cryptoconomy, the likelihood is that crypto startups will continue poaching experienced executives from the world of traditional finance, with a view to utilizing their professional networks and forging links with institutions. Taylor’s appointment to Unizen follows the news that John Dalby, CFO of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, is joining Stoneridge Bitcoin subsidiary NYDIG.
Who will be the next tradfi O.G. to jump ship?