Markets

Coinbase snags Thomson Reuters exec as it shifts its institutional focus away from Wall Street

Quick Take

  • Coinbase, the San Francisco digital currency exchange, has poached a top exec to head its operational team
  • The firm hired Quito Zuba, formerly the Global Head of Operations at Thomson Reuters
  • The new hire comes amid reports that Coinbase is shifting its strategy away from its Wall Street

 

Coinbase, the U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange operator, has hired Quito Zuba as its new head of market operations.

Zuba, a veteran of the Wall Street trading world, spent the last eight years as the Global Head of Trading Operations at Thomson Reuters before joining Coinbase in November. Zuba updated his LinkedIn to reflect the move this month and a Coinbase spokesperson confirmed the hire to The Block. The spokesperson said Zuba is based in Chicago, which is where Coinbase is building out its new matching engine — the platform that connects buyers and sellers trading with the firm. The firm’s Chicago team also includes Paul Bauerschmidt, a former exec at CME, the Chicago exchange operator.

Zuba is the latest in a long string of hires at Coinbase from Wall Street, despite the firm having shifted away from its institutional focus. As first reported by The Block, Coinbase is moving away from its 2018 plans to build a full-scale Wall Street-grade prime broker. It is now focusing instead on competing for clients who are already rooted in the crypto world, and putting itself up against Binance, the world’s biggest exchange by trading volume. Binance lists 150 tokens and is the primary provider for the Asia market, with turnover in the last month standing at $19 billion versus Coinbase’s $3.2 billion. 

“There is a lot of trading volume happening outside of the U.S. so we want to expand our services to the international market and take marketshare in the EU and Asia quite a bit,” said Dan Romero, Coinbase’s head of institutional.

Still, Romero said the firm would continue to hire talent from the Wall Street world. 

Zuba joined Thomson Reuters from FXall, a foreign exchange platform, where he was global head of trade support. FXall was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2012 for $625 million. Prior to FXall, he was head of global trading operations at Instinet, the broker owned by Nomura. 

Frank Chaparro contributed to this report.