Coinbase names Barclays veteran Tejpaul as institutional head

Coinbase Inc., one of the most popular U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges, said it hired Barclays Capital Inc. veteran Brett Tejpaul to serve as head of institutional coverage.

Tejpaul spent 17 years at Barclays, where he was global head of sales across all fixed income and equities, as well as global head of credit and commodities. He also served on Barclays’ Market Executive Committee. He’ll focus on expanding Coinbase’s institutional client base and introducing new features and services for large clients.

Institutional clients already make up about 60% of Coinbase’s trading volume. The San Francisco-based company’s institutional-grade custody service safeguards more than $8 billion in client assets.

The first cryptocurrency many institutional investors may wish to get into isn’t Bitcoin, but a stablecoin, according to Tejpaul.

Stablecoins, which often seek to maintain a one-to-one ratio to fiat currencies such as the dollar, have become the most used cryptocurrencies in recent years. Banks, hedge funds and asset managers may wish to use them to control settlement risk and increase capital efficiency, he said. Once they become comfortable with stablecoins, they could venture into other cryptocurrencies as well, Tejpaul said in a phone interview.

“It opens up opportunities in lots of places that perhaps institutional clients haven’t considered before,” Tejpaul, 47, said. “Stablecoins could drive institutional clients becoming active in this space.”

Coinbase backs USD Coin, a stablecoin also supported by crypto startup Circle. USDC, as USD Coin is generally known, has benefited from the crypto market collapse earlier this year. The coin has a $726 million market capitalization, up about 40% since the beginning of the year.