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My transition into a career in crypto

A year ago, we introduced you to Matt – a trading analyst on the grains desk in Chicago. Since then, he’s made a transition into an emerging area of DRW and he’s here to share that story.

One year later – Matt:

I developed a personal interest in cryptoassets by learning directly from the Cumberland team. I would often stop by after the markets closed on the grains desk to talk to my friends about the various assets they were trading, the underlying Blockchain technology, and the fact that these markets never closed. I was intrigued by the space so when I saw an opportunity to join the team, I reached out to talent acquisition and two weeks later I was working full time on Cumberland.

As a relationship manager, I sit squarely between the business development team and the traders. I am one of the dedicated team members assigned to our counterparties and I act as a liaison between the individuals and institutions, and the traders that execute transactions. We trade 24 hours a day, 7 days a week globally from our offices in the US, London and Singapore, which requires a tremendous amount of technology and operational management. Getting exposure to this type of work is not only challenging in a good way, but it also allows me to collaborate with coworkers all around the world. Every day I get to come in, pick up the work where our Singapore team left off, then hand it back to another teammate at the end of the day. We’re constantly building things together.

Grains is one of the oldest and most established markets – it’s been around since the 1880s, while cryptoassets are the newest financial products out there. While they might seem like complete opposites, grains and cryptos share more similarities than you might think. Grains is a physical commodity and you need an understanding of the physical aspect of it. While bitcoin (as an example) is not something you can hold in your hand, it has intrinsic value and is something you can conceptualize. There is corn in the ground, and there is bitcoin in your (digital) wallet. Just like in grains where traders and researchers talk to farmers or meteorologists to understand the underlying product, cryptoasset traders read white papers and talk to developers or miners to understand the market. In-depth research of the underlying product is critical to being able to trade these products well.

As I’ve moved teams at DRW, I’ve noticed a consistent drive to learn and keep expanding across the firm. Every time I talk to someone who works for another team, they are all looking forward – a new edge, a new way to grow a trade, a new idea or a new project. No one here sits still, and we’re always asking how we can improve.

I’m still early in my career, yet I’ve already witnessed incredible evolution. I started in the pits at the CME, then moved to be primarily electronic, and today I am trading an asset that in and of itself is digital. Cumberland is also evolving. The team has continued to grow since I joined and today we are a well-established, global leader in cryptoassets. It’s been an incredible opportunity so far and I look forward to evolving along with the business and the markets.