(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc.’s Matt Zhang is leaving the bank for the world of cryptocurrencies, according to people familiar with the matter.
Zhang will start a fund that trades digital assets and makes venture investments in crypto companies, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing non-public information. Zhang is seeking to raise more than $1 billion for the fund, the person said.
A 14-year veteran of Citigroup, Zhang created the firm’s spread products investment technologies team, or Sprint, which makes bets on financial-technology companies as a way to get a first look at innovations that could reshape debt markets. The venture has focused on technologies related to trading infrastructure, data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Zhang was most recently co-head of Citigroup’s structured products trading and solutions division. With his departure, Chetan Vohra will become sole head of that unit and will also lead the Sprint business, one of the people said.
A Citigroup spokesman declined to comment on Zhang’s departure.
Wild cryptocurrency markets are luring many longtime banking executives away from Wall Street, where company executives have been taking a wait-and-see approach even as their clients increasingly clamor for access to the asset class.
“We’re fairly cautious around crypto as a bank,” Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser said at a conference this week. “We proceed with great caution on that one as to where the value is and isn’t.”
Zhang is at least the second top Citigroup executive to depart for the digital-assets industry in recent months. Christopher Perkins, the former co-head of Citigroup’s futures, clearing and foreign-exchange prime brokerage businesses, was hired in August as a managing partner and president by CoinFund, a blockchain-focused investment firm.
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