On Thursday, amid a crypto market lull, ErisX, an up-and-coming Bitcoin services provider backed by Wall Street powerhouse TD Ameritrade, made a surprising, forward-thinking announcement. Per a company release, issued via BusinessWire, the American upstart announced the addition of two board members.
Alongside Accel Partners ‘executive in residence’ Cris Conde, a fintech entrepreneur, Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys and one of the minds behind Ethereum, will be joining ErisX’s board as the platform purportedly nears its inaugural day online. Conde replaces Cliff Lewis on ErisX’s board of advisors, while crypto veteran Lubin has seemingly taken a new position.
ErisX chief executive Tom Chippas, a Wall Street legend that has been on Citadel’s and Axoni’s C-suite and Barclays’, Citi’s, and Deutsche’s director list, expressed his excitement for these additions. Chippas, who has presumably put his copious financial expertise to work in the cryptosphere, claimed that ErisX will “benefit from the unique perspectives [the new additions] offer and the enthusiasm they bring.”
In an official statement, Lubin, deemed one of the most powerful (and richest) players in the broader Bitcoin ecosystem, remarked that in his eyes, ErisX is in a “unique position” in the broader crypto market, with its company background, financier roster, and innovative products. The ConsenSys head, effectively the Ethereum development consortium’s de-facto chief executive, added that he’s pleased to provide his knowledge of “decentralized technologies and digital assets” to a “model that will further democratize access to digital assets.”
Likely referencing his call that the cryptocurrency market would bottom during 2019, Lubin subsequently added that he expects for the next 12 months to be a “breakthrough” for this nascent sector, adding that he expects for ErisX to lead this pseudo-rebound. The ConsenSys founder didn’t specify whether said rebound would take the form of a market recovery or fundamental boom. But, considering his previous comments, it may be an amalgamation of both.
Lubin’s new, potentially demanding stint comes amid tough times for ConsenSys, as the organization, headquartered in New York, recently had to lay off 12%~13% of its global staff (~150 out of 1,350). Rumor has it the group, known for products like Infura, MetaMask, among others, also has plans to “spin-off” upwards of half of its staffers, but this is just unconfirmed hearsay.
Ethereum (ETH) Skepticism Remains
It isn’t clear what role Lubin will play, but many have assumed that the Ethereum co-founder, purportedly the biggest “HODLer” of the cryptocurrency in existence, is looking into aiding ErisX in its efforts to launch futures/derivatives products centered around leading digital assets, namely ETH.
Yet, per previous reports from Ethereum World News, pundits, even those looking to provide Ether-backed derivatives themselves, have been skeptical of the asset’s prospects in the realm of alternative investment vehicles.
Speaking to The BLock in an interview, Paul Chou, chief executive of crypto investment startup LedgerX, explained that there’s only a 50/50 chance that ETH vehicles go live in 2019. Backing his quip, Chou explained that many proposals for the aforementioned product type are “premature,” just as Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications were just two years ago.
Former CFTC advisor Jeff Bandman, the head of a cryptocurrency consultant group, explained that Ethereum’s proposed plan to integrate Proof of Stake (PoS) may complicate regulations, specifically due to the potential security risks.
Nelson Rosario, an attorney with hands in the proverbial crypto jars, also noted that staking may be seen as suspicious in regulators’ eyes. Likely referencing physically-held futures, Rosario explained that live staking with Ether may complicate products to high hell while confusing network developers in the process.
So maybe Lubin’s role isn’t to push for Ether futures or products of similar caliber. Regardless, his addition will be appreciated nonetheless, especially in 2019, which will likely become the first year that Wall Street truly forays into this budding asset class.
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