Capital markets News

BlackRock is hiring a blockchain VP


BlackRock, the investment firm with $7.8 trillion in assets under management, has published a job posting for a Vice President, blockchain lead. The role isn’t for developing blockchain technology but for making investments in digital assets and blockchain firms.

The firm is looking for a business person rather than a technical candidate but someone who can provide a methodology for valuing crypto-assets and talk about topics such as hashing and consensus mechanisms. The person would need to understand decentralized governance models and be able to analyze a blockchain’s network’s design, especially concerning speed, scalability, privacy and security.

In April 2019, BlackRock hired former Ripple executive Robbie Mitchnick to lead its digital assets area. He also penned a paper outlining a methodology for valuing crypto-assets. In a podcast in September that year, Mitchnick was referred to as the firm’s ‘blockchain lead’ and outlined precisely the same performance trade-offs of speed, scalability, privacy and security.

Interestingly given the recent SEC action against Ripple, Mitchnick spoke about centralization. He said that scalability is only still a limitation for decentralized permissionless networks. “If you’re willing to sacrifice on true decentralization, and have a predetermined set of institutional validators, which in many use cases is a perfectly reasonable trade-off, then actually speed and scale can be orders of magnitude higher,” said Mitchnick.

And he went on to outline a long list of financial applications where he believes enterprise blockchain is relevant. These include payments, KYCtrade financederivativesproxy votingbank loanssecuritized lending, and REPO.

The job ad comes at a time of heightened institutional interest in the cryptocurrency sector. Earlier this month MassMutual announced it invested $100 million in bitcoin. And several banks unveiled institutional cryptocurrency ventures, including Standard Chartered, Northern Trust,BBVA Switzerland and Singapore’s DBS Bank.