Fidelity Investments has raided Barclays Investment Bank for a digital assets position.
Chris Tyrer, who served as Head of Digital Assets project at Barclays, joined the US financial services giant in April, according to his LinkedIn profile. The profile does not go into detail about the new job, just mentioning ‘digital assets’. Tyrer did not respond to our request for further info.
Last year, Bloomberg reported that Tyrer had started exploratory work on how the British bank could get involved in cryptocurrencies, and whether it should do so. “Barclays sounded out clients earlier in the year to gauge interest in a cryptocurrency trading desk, people familiar with the matter said in April,” Bloomberg noted. “The UK lender said at the time it was monitoring developments in the digital currency market but had no concrete plans to start such an operation.”
It eventually halted work on the project, however, after a number of major challenges emerged and customers showed no real enthusiasm. The decision lead to the departure of Tyrer.
Along with Barclays trader, Mattieu Jobbe Duval, he had written on his LinkedIn profile that he was involved in the initiative. Their employer, however, denied its existence.
Duval said he had been hired to “price a business plan for integrating a digital assets trading desk into Barclays’ markets business: revenue opportunity, competitive landscape, budgeting and planning for delivery, IT build out, capital & balance sheet impact.”
Yet, after media outlets approached the bank for more information, both Duval and Tyrer modified their LinkedIn profiles. Tyrer refused to comment, although Duval said the information posted had been “accurate”.
Barclays’ denial contradicted a patent application, which described a system “wherein amounts of digital currency may be created, destroyed, split, joined or transferred by adding suitable operation data to a digital currency ledger (for example, a blockchain)”.
It also highlighted that “some operations may be performed only by authorised entities (such as the create and destroy operations), and other operations may be performed by any entity that holds or owns the amount of digital currency on which the operation is to be performed (for example split, join and transfer operations)”.