Cryptocurrency market maker B2C2 makes senior hire to lead U.S. expansion

NEW YORK (Reuters) - UK-headquartered cryptocurrency market maker B2C2 has hired financial markets veteran Rob Catalanello to lead the company’s expansion in the United States, it said on Thursday.

Catalanello, who has been appointed chief executive of B2C2 USA, is joining the company after more than two decades on Wall Street where he held senior roles at firms including Credit Agricole and Merrill Lynch.

Most recently he was a senior partner at a capital markets consulting firm he founded.

Catalanello is the latest executive with a long career in finance to join the cryptocurrency sector. Companies in the nascent industry have been recruiting experienced financial executives as they seek to become more mainstream and attract business from institutional investors.

Founded in 2015, B2C2 is well known for trading large orders of cryptocurrencies over-the-counter with retail brokerages, exchanges, banks and fund managers. It has offices in London, Tokyo and Jersey City.

As the company’s first U.S. chief executive, Catalanello will work to expand the firm’s client franchise in the region.

“The client base in foreign exchange sales that Rob has built over the years is immensely valuable to us,” said Max Boonen, co-founder and CEO of B2C2, in an interview.

The firm has applied for the necessary regulatory approvals in the United States and is hoping to kick off operations by the end of April at the latest.

“We have prepared the pipes ... now we just need to turn on the switch,” Boonen said.

B2C2’s U.S. expansion follows a dramatic decline in the price of cryptocurrencies and a slump in trading volumes. The price of bitcoin, the most well-known cryptocurrency, is down around 80 percent from its peak of around $20,000 in December 2017.

Boonen said B2C2 had always operated in a very “conservative” way and did not over-expand or go on unreasonable hiring sprees “when others were going crazy.”

Reporting by Echo Wang; editing by Anna Irrera and Rosalba O’Brien