Young Traders Abandoning Wall Street to Focus on the Crypto Market

There is a growing trend of young twenty-something and thirty-something-year-olds jettisoning their lucrative Wall Street jobs on the back of successful crypto trade deals. 2017 turned out to be a breakout year for many cryptocurrencies, and some young Turks in mainstream finance seem to have made quite the fortune.

Traders in notable firms like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and BlackRock are quitting their jobs to invest their crypto fortune in other cryptocurrency and blockchain technology enterprises.

Wall Street Brain Drain

Adrian Xinli Zhang, Asim Ahmad, Jonathan Cheesman are some of the bright young minds making the bold career jump from mainstream finance to the uncertain crypto world. Zhang, a 29-year-old former employee of Deutsche Bank, left the firm in March 2018. According to sources close to him, Zhang traded over $1 million in digital currencies last year and managed to make a sizable profit.

Asim Ahmad has been trading Ethereum since 2016, just a few months after taking up employment at BlackRock. He reportedly invested $13,000 in the cryptocurrency which was worth $10 at the time. Ethereum is currently trading above the $500 region and almost crossed the $1,5000 threshold during its bull rally at the start of the year.

Commenting on the career shift, Ahmad said:

I’m in a position where it doesn’t make sense to work at BlackRock anymore. The one-day volatility of my portfolio is higher than my salary, so if I get a few investments right then, I’ll have made the same as my yearly wage and everything else on top is a bonus.

The cryptocurrency market is notoriously volatile with price swings that can go as high as 1,000 percent within a 24-hour period. Smart traders like Zhang and Ahmad seem to have taken advantage of arbitrage trading on cryptocurrency prices and even Bitcoin futures contracts to make a small fortune.

A Polarizing Topic

Despite the allure of the market, cryptocurrency remains a hotly debated topic. Where blockchain, the technology behind cryptos receives almost universal praise, there is no consensus on the viability of cryptocurrencies. From government agencies to CEOs of large corporations, the opinions are split between positive and negative. However, one thing that seems to have changed in recent times is the attention given to cryptocurrencies as an asset class. Before 2017, digital currencies were mostly dismissed by mainstream players as nothing more a market dominated by libertarians and criminals. Starting from 2017, more notable companies like Nasdaq and Goldman Sachs are taking an interest in the burgeoning market.

There seems to be a difference of opinion based on age demographics concerning the perception of cryptocurrencies. The younger traders generally seem keen on the idea of digital currencies while the old guard is mostly skeptical or critical of the new asset class. Commenting on this age divide, Adam Grimsley, formerly of BlackRock said that:

You’ve seen a bifurcation internally at many larger houses where senior managers are very skeptical about crypto, while graduates and younger team members are very positive. The youngsters may have less intellectual baggage and may be more open-minded, but they also have less responsibility for managing risk and working out the practicalities of bolting on crypto to the existing business.

Whether cryptocurrencies end up being a long-surviving asset class remains to be seen. However, there is no denying that the nascent industry is luring a lot of young talents from the traditional financial sector.

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