Diana Zhang, former CEO deputy and chief operating officer of the investment research department at major global investment firm Bridgewater Associates, has joined crypto investment management firm BlockTower Capital.
She became BlockTower’s first chief operating officer, according to Bloomberg, noting that the exec left legendary hedge fund manager Ray Dalio’s $150 billion investment-management firm to join a crypto company – contrary to a recent trend of crypto company execs joining traditional finance jobs that are perceived as more stable.
“Joining BlockTower in the late innings of crypto winter was an incredibly attractive opportunity – I would have actually been nervous about jumping into the industry at the height of the bull cycle when things felt so frothy,” Zhang was quoted as saying.
“But here was a long-established firm that was still standing strong after crypto’s Lehman moment and well-positioned to take advantage of the new playing field, she added.”
Per Zhang’s LinkedIn profile, she started working at BlockTower in February this year. “Hired with mandate to own management oversight of the firm, both in the day-to-day and in the driving of new growth paths,” the job description says.
Before that, according to LinkedIn, she had spent 16 years at Bridgewater, starting as an Investment Associate in 2006, moving to the COO position at the Investment Research Department, followed by Director at Investment Associate Program, then CEO deputy in 2015, and a “pilot member” of the Executive on Loan Program in January 2021.
In October 2022, the profile states, she took “a sabbatical to focus on building NeighborShare,” of which she is the founding CEO and board member.
NeighborShare is a digital platform that helps local nonprofits connect households in need directly with neighbors who want to share.
Zhang started working on this platform in April 2020, stating that the nonprofit provided direct aid to more than 4,300 neighbors across the country and fundraised nearly $1 million to aid community members and invest in NeighborShare’s infrastructure.
Meanwhile, BlockTower is a crypto and blockchain investment firm founded in 2017 by Ari Paul, a portfolio manager for the University of Chicago, and former Goldman Sachs Vice President Matthew Goetz.
Goetz told Bloomberg that the firm had a total staff of about 30 people and that it opened an office in New York City in March.
But the company has also been acquiring talent, hiring highly experienced people in important positions.
“You don’t build an enduring, category-defining firm without investing in world-class executive management,” Goetz said.
Besides Zhang, the company recently hired Danny Goodman, former vice president of finance and strategy at bankrupt miner Core Scientific, Ryan Silva, former senior portfolio manager at the failed lender Celsius Network, and Kevin Miao, former vice president of structured products trading at Citigroup.
Furthermore, according to Goetz,
“We are looking at growth opportunities in several forms – investment strategies, franchises, people, technology, even new companies.”
The company is now investing in ways to enable traditional assets, such as bonds, to trade using the benefits of blockchain technology, Goetz said.
BlockTower shut down its “market-neutral” crypto fund earlier in the year, which at one point oversaw more than $100 million, Bloomberg reported. Goetz stated that the decision wasn’t “related to FTX losses or any particular event” but that it was “a proactive decision we made as fiduciaries.”
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