By Elizabeth Howcroft
LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. crypto firm Galaxy Digital aims to expand its presence in Europe and has appointed its first chief executive for the region, the company said on Thursday, as it seeks to tap into growing demand there for institutional crypto products.
Leon Marshall, who joined New York-based Galaxy in June as head of sales, will oversee the company’s European expansion, managing operations and client relationships, the company said.
Europe is “critically important” to Galaxy’s growth strategy, said Michael Novogratz, the billionaire former hedge fund manager who founded Galaxy in 2018.
Marshall plans to build a regional operation from the company’s London office, he told the Financial Times, which first reported the news on Thursday. The European Union’s crypto regulations, which were approved by EU states in May, were a crucial factor in the decision, he said.
Galaxy is building its team in Europe, particularly in investment banking, a spokesperson said in emailed comments, declining to disclose the number of new hires.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said last year he wanted to make Britain a “global hub” for cryptoasset technology.
“Beyond the prime minister’s comments, European adoption of crypto continues to skyrocket,” the Galaxy spokesperson said.
“There has been continued demand amongst European investors for institutional-grade products that will enable them to access crypto markets in a cost-effective, simplified fashion using their brokerage accounts.”
Marshall’s appointment follows Galaxy’s strategic alliance with European asset manager DWS, to develop crypto exchange-traded products. Such ETPs are widely expected to encourage a wider range of investors to embrace crypto.
Galaxy’s services include trading, lending, advisory services and bitcoin mining.
Crypto markets have been largely stagnant so far this year, after a series of bankruptcies at top crypto firms in 2022 left investors with large losses and prompted regulators to increase scrutiny of the sector. Bitcoin is trading around $26,570, down from its peak of $69,000 in November 2021.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, Editing by Tom Wilson and Barbara Lewis)