Coinbase Exchange’s New Head of Trading Resigns

The head of trading for leading US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is reported to have resigned after only 6 months with the company. Sources say that Hunter Merghart expressed interest in exploring “other opportunities.” Interestingly, the former Coinbase exec who hired Merghart, Adam White, also left Coinbase last month to become the chief operating officer at New York crypto-startup Bakkt.

Merghart began working at Coinbase Institutional at the beginning of May 2018. Prior to Coinbase, Merghart had worked since 2015 at the UK’s largest bank, Barclays, as director of US equity trading.

CoinDesk reports that a frustrated Merghart left Coinbase due to a lack of resources or clarity on how the company planned to build its institutional business. Amidst a record breaking year in terms of overall growth, the San Francisco-based exchange has faced numerous setbacks in the form of departures from employees in upper management positions and a series of customer complaints. Also, after only being active for four months, Coinbase recently announced that it would be shutting down its Coinbase Index fund.

Despite the failure of the company’s index fund, Coinbase continues to move forward with the rollout of new products directed towards institutional investors. The exchange recently received another $300 million in its Series E funding round, which will be put towards further developing the institutional side of the business, along with additional support for Coinbase Custody. Coinbase President and COO Asiff Hirji told Bloomberg in a recent interview that he believes growing custody and institutional businesses will account for a large share of future revenues.

“Our revenues currently are 100 percent transnational,” said Hirji. “The custody businesses and other [institutional] businesses are more fee based or AUN based. So what you will see is that will grow as part of our overall revenue, which will give us more predictability in our revenue stream.”

Ultimately, the recent departures of White and Merghart, while frustrating for Coinbase, hardly leaves the company short on talent. This year Coinbase has locked down a number of key hires, including Jonathan Kellner, Chris Dodds and Oputa Ezediaro. Kellner is the former Instinet CEO who is now serving as Coinbase’s new managing director of the Institutional Coverage Group. Dodds is a former Charles Schwab advisor, now acting as part of Coinbase’s board of directors, and Ezediaro was previously a JPMorgan executive director, who is also working on Coinbase’s Institutional Coverage Group.

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