Coinbase hires former Instinet CEO to lead institutional sales

Jonathan Kellner will take charge of the institutional business at Coinbase after leading Instinet as CEO since 2014.

Cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinbase has confirmed that it has hired the former chief executive of agency broker Instinet to lead its institutional business.

Jonathan Kellner joins Coinbase as a managing director of the institutional coverage group where he will take charge of sales and support, while bringing the firm’s crypto trading products to the institutional industry.

Kellner has been chief executive of Instinet since 2014 overseeing the agency broker’s brokerage operations globally. Prior to being appointed CEO, he was head of Instinet’s Americas businesses and first joined the Nomura Group in 2003. He has also held various senior trading and technology roles at Charles Schwab, ITG and Morgan Stanley.

“As crypto continues to mature and evolve into a fully-fledged, tradable asset class, institutional investors of all types will play a critical role in the market,” Coinbase president and COO, Asiff Hirji, said in a statement from the firm.

“These participants will range from crypto-first institutions such as token issuers and crypto hedge funds, to more traditional finance players such as hedge funds, banks, asset managers and family offices. Each will have a role to play, and each will have different needs.”

Kellner’s appointment is the latest step in Coinbase’s plans to enter the institutional crypto market, after launching its Coinbase Custody service in July and obtaining a broker-dealer license, an alternative trading system license, and a registered investment advisor (RIA) license from regulators.

In July, Coinbase hired Pershing’s global head of compliance, Jeff Horowitz, to lead the exchange’s compliance strategy on a global scale.

“As Coinbase continues to grow and act as the bridge between traditional finance and crypto world, we’re committed to bringing on leaders who can help us chart a course through these previously uncharted waters,” Hirji concluded.