Blockchain, a cryptocurrency wallet service, has hired a former Goldman Sachs executive to help boost its presence with institutional clients.
Breanne Madigan joined the firm this month, Blockchain announced Tuesday.
She will take up the role as head of institutional sales and strategy. Madigan most recently served as head of institutional wealth services at Goldman Sachs, a division whose total assets under management reached a record $1.49 trillion in 2017, according to information provided by Blockchain.
Madigan had been at Goldman since 2003 in roles including chief operating officer for the G10 global foreign exchange business.
The hiring of Madigan signals Blockchain’s intent to go after institutional clients, a market that is seen as potentially lucrative. So far, institutional investors have not jumped into cryptocurrency investing as many had anticipated following the launch of futures contracts last year.
Many institutional investors still see cryptocurrencies as an incredibly risky asset given the wild fluctuations in price. Bitcoin, for example, hit a record high of over $19,000 in December but is currently trading at just over $8,000, according to data from CoinDesk, a site that tracks the price of various digital coins.
Analysts have said that 2018 could be the year that institutions begin to get involved in the space. Ari Paul, a former portfolio manager at the University of Chicago and current CIO of cryptocurrency investment firm BlockTower Capital, said he has talked to multiple pension funds and endowments that are sitting on the fence when it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies.
“I do think it’s inevitable from a few angles,” Paul told CNBC in a recent interview. “Even if they never believe in it as an asset class, they’re smart enough to recognize the alpha opportunity.”
Blockchain sees an opportunity in trying to attract institutions into the market through hiring Madigan.
“Breanne has a proven track record of adding value to her teams and her clients, and as Blockchain continues to grow its institutional presence, I can think of no one better to help scale our business,” Peter Smith, CEO of Blockchain, said in a statement Tuesday.
Blockchain has 24 million wallets opened on its platform. The company recently launched a service in the U.S. to buy and sell digital currencies, pitting it against the likes of Coinbase.