Gemini Hires Former Wall Street Exec to Head Operations

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has scored a big hire from the conventional finance world with the announcement of Jeanine Hightower-Selitto as the company’s new managing director of operations as it continues its efforts to expand its market share following a recent series of important decisions and hires.

Hightower-Selitto’s Profile and Background

Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto is the former Chief Operating Officer at International Securities Exchange, which she joined at its infancy as a relationship manager in 2004, helping to build it into a big exchange that was then acquired by NASDAQ.

She brings a wealth of experience in Wall Street customer relationship management which will be particularly important to Gemini as it attempts to transition into a new phase of growth with the recent launch of its own USD-pegged stablecoin and a rumoured expansion into the UK. Hightower-Selitto becomes the latest Wall Street personality to make the jump from traditional finance to Gemini following July’s capture of former NYSE Chief Information Officer Robert Cornish, who is now Gemini’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

Task at Gemini

At Gemini, Hightower-Selitto’s responsibilities will cover the firm’s numerous business lines, according to a person familiar with the matter. Her main focus will be on improving the firm’s capacity and strategy for handling institutional investment, which is Gemini’s real target in the crypto exchange space.

Despite Gemini’s large media presence due to the publicity afforded by its founders - the Winkelvoss twins - Gemini currently commands less than one percent of the total crypto exchange trading market, per data from TradingView. It also has a substantially more cautious strategy than its bigger rivals such as  Kraken and Coinbase, with only three assets listed on its platform.
Hightower-Sellitto is expected to oversee initiatives such as formulating client-specific customer service teams to better serve asset managers and hedge funds trading on the exchange. At the moment, customer service personnel cover a wide-range of clients, spanning retail brokerage, asset management, and hedge fund clients, to name a few.

Leveraging on her experience from the securities world, she will also explore things such as building out market-data capabilities and ways to appraise trade execution.

$3.1 million: Crypto Exchange Cashaa Hacked for 336 BTC

London-based cryptocurrency exchange Cashaa revealed it lost 336 bitcoin, at press time worth $3.1 million, to hackers who managed to access one of its cryptocurrency wallets.

According to a tweet the exchange published on July 11, the attackers managed to access one of its Blockchain.com wallets, and quickly transferred the funds to an address they control. From the address they went to the BTC has been through a series of hops, suggesting the use of coin mixing software to limit traceability and throw off blockchain sleuths.

Cashaa believes that the attacker may have managed to infect one of its computers with malware, and then waited for an employee to access its machine. As soon as that happened, the funds were moved out of its wallet. Reacting to the security breach, the exchange halted withdrawals and deposits and “called the board meeting to decide whether the company will bear all the losses.”

The exchange suspects the hacker is from east Delhi, India, and filed a report with the Delhi police cybercrimes department.

Cashaa also reached out to other cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses informing them of the address, in a bid to stop the hacker from cashing out. In statements provided to industry media Kumar Gaurav, Cashaa’s CEO, seemingly lashed out at trading platforms that allow hackers to cash out.

Gaurav was quoted as saying:

As of today, hackers are very confident to hack crypto addresses and move it through exchanges that are facilitating such laundering through their systems. Exchanges like these must be shut down and owners of these exchanges should be charged with money laundering facilitation crime.

CryptoCompare’s Exchange Benchmark report, as recently reported, revealed that 38% of crypto exchanges interact with high-risk entities in 25% or more of their transactions. High-risk entities are those associated with darknet markets and vendors, criminals, gambling projects, malware operators, and others.

Featured image by Kevin Ku on Unsplash