cryptocurrencies

Mike Novogratz Makes Goldman VP the COO of His Crypto Company

  • Richard Kim will join the crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital
  • Investor Mike Novogratz builds out startup in volatile market

Mike Novogratz

Photographer: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg

Mike Novogratz’s cryptocurrency merchant bank hired Richard Kim from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as chief operating officer, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Kim, a London-based vice president at Goldman, will join Galaxy Digital in the coming weeks and likely move to New York, said one of the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Kim left Goldman Sachs in recent weeks after serving in an administrative-type role within the foreign-exchange business, another person said. He was among those working to set up a Goldman desk for trading cryptocurrencies.

He is the latest crypto expert to leave Goldman Sachs as wild swings in prices for Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies attract Wall Street traders, tech investors and regulators. The phenomenon has brought out supporters and detractors, who see a chance to get rich quickly, an opportunity for criminals to hide their money, or the best way to dramatically disrupt how the world pays for things.

Other Departures

In January, former Goldman Sachs executive Michael Bucella took a business-development role with BlockTower Capital, one of the leading crypto-investment firms. BlockTower was co-founded by Matt Goetz, who exited the Wall Street bank last year. James Radecki left Goldman in 2016 and now serves as global head of business development at Cumberland Mining, one of the largest traders of cryptocurrencies.

Kim won’t be the only Goldman alum at Galaxy either. In addition to Novogratz, who worked at the bank in the 1990s, Luka Jankovic, formerly a hedge fund analyst there, joined the venture last year, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Goldman Sachs spokeswoman Tiffany Galvin-Cohen and Novogratz declined to comment. Kim didn’t respond to a LinkedIn message seeking comment.

Novogratz, 53, a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot who spent a decade at Goldman Sachs before joining the buy side, raised about $250 million for his cryptocurrency effort earlier this year. The New York-based firm plans to trade crypto as well as make principal investments, manage assets for other clients and provide advice on blockchain-related ventures.

Galaxy Digital marks a comeback for Novogratz, a former Goldman partner who left Fortress Investment Group LLC in 2015 after the macro hedge fund he managed there lost money.

— With assistance by Julie Verhage, and David Scheer

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