Citi’s digital asset co-heads resign with plans to create crypto startup

Alex Kriete, Co-Head of Digital Assets at Citi, announced his resignation from the banking giant after 11 years at the firm on March 10 via LinkedIn. He stated in his post that he intends to devote himself full-time to developing a new cryptocurrency company but provided no additional details at the time.

Kriete co-led the Digital Assets Group with Greg Girasole for less than a year since the unit launched in June, 2021. Girasole also announced his departure via LinkedIn and, together him and Kriete plan to start their own blockchain-related venture. The two said they will share more details about it in the coming weeks.

Kriete’s excitement for his new undertaking stemmed from the belief that digital assets will “continue to grow in importance to global capital markets and the formation of new business models.” He added that a personal interest in blockchain enabled digital assets started over five years ago and has now led him to want to “assist in the maturation of this market” on his own terms. 

Whereas Kriete and Girasole oversaw the digital assets group within Citi’s wealth management division, the bank has another digital assets unit within its Institutional Clients Group that is led by the recently appointed Puneet Singhvi.

Recently, another Citi executive, Matt Zhang, also jumped ship to launch a $1.5 billion crypto fund called Hivemind Capital Partners whose first technology partner is Algorand. And in a similar corporate leadership move, a longtime Goldman Sachs executive, Roger Bartlett decided it was “time to embrace the crypto economy” and left the bank to run Global Financial Operations at Coinbase. 

Related: Coinbase seeks new exec to debate with policymakers

Meanwhile, another bank making pioneering moves into the metaverse is JPMorgan Chase, having opened a virtual lounge in the Decentraland metaverse as it hopes to capitalize on a $1 trillion market opportunity, according to the bank.

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