August 1, 2018 / 4:39 PM / a year ago

MOVES-Blockchain hires Jamie Selway to ramp up institutional business

NEW YORK, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Blockchain, one of the world's biggest cryptocurrency wallet companies, said on Wednesday it had hired Jamie Selway, an electronic trading veteran and expert on U.S. equity market structure, as global head of institutional markets.

Named after the internet platform that records and validates transactions between parties without a bank or government acting as an intermediary, Blockchain makes software that allows consumers and businesses to make transactions using digital currencies such as bitcoin.

"Jamie is an established leader in the prime brokerage industry and a long-time markets leader," Blockchain Chief Executive Officer Peter Smith said in an emailed statement. "His track record and expertise will be critical to driving the development and growth of our products for institutional investors."

The London-based firm, which was founded in 2011, recently launched an institutional service called Blockchain Principle Strategies that will be expanded to include things like algorithmic trading services and a trading platform, Selway said in an interview.

"The plan is to create a trading product," he said. "Going from the existing wallet service, which is substantial in terms of size, and then building execution tools for retail, expanding the wallet into custodial services for institutions, and then execution for those institutions."

Working with regulators, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, on issues surrounding digital assets will be another focus for Selway.

"It's absolutely necessary to be on side with regulators to build an institutional business," he said.

The former head of execution services at agency brokerage Investment Technology Group was also the leading candidate to run the SEC's trading and markets division before he withdrew his name from consideration last September.

Selway previously co-founded institutional agency broker White Cap Trading in 2003 and was on the board of directors at exchange operator Bats Global Markets, now owned by Cboe Global Markets, from 2008 to 2015.

He previously held positions as chief economist at Archipelago, a trading platform that later merged with Intercontinental Exchange Inc's New York Stock Exchange, and Goldman Sachs, where he worked in equity derivatives research.

Blockchain's board of directors includes Arthur Levitt, a former chairman of the SEC, and Antony Jenkins, former chief executive officer of Barclays PLC. Investors in the company include the venture capital arm of Alphabet Inc and Lakestar. (Reporting by John McCrank; additional reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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