Bitcoin 2022 Exclusive: Tapping Traditional Finance Expertise For Crypto Innovation

By April 23, 2022Bitcoin Business
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Detroit-based Benzinga, a media and data provider bridging the gap between retail and institutional investors, sent its team to Miami, Florida April 6-9, for Bitcoin 2022.

During that time, Benzinga sought to recognize the innovation in digital assets, broadly, and spoke with founders, investors, and beyond.

The following is a conversation with Robert Zagotta, the CEO at Bitstamp USA, a cryptocurrency exchange. Check it out!

Benzinga: Hi Robert, it is an honor to meet with you. Care for an introduction?

Robert Zagotta: I’ve been at BitStamp for about seven months. I’m CEO of the Americas.

Prior to this, I was the chief commercial officer for Kraken for about three years. I led all of the growth side functions, globally.

Earlier, I was at the CME Group Inc (NASDAQ: CME), the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. I was a member of the leadership team there for over five years and worked with the company for ten years as an M&A advisor, first. Then, I was head of products and services for the company.

At CME, I oversaw our venture capital arm CME Ventures, too, when we started investing in crypto and blockchain companies in late 2014. We were able to do the Bitcoin futures project, and I was the executive sponsor for that.

Then, I met Jesse Powell and decided to join Kraken. Prior, I was the CEO and co-founder of a firm we grew and sold, and I was a strategy consultant.

Tell me more about your experiences at the CME.

As a traditional exchange guy, at the time, we invested in Digital Currency Group, Ripple (CRYPTO: XRP), and some early blockchain companies.

I started to understand this technology could conceivably disintermediate, in some respects, the CME Group business model, which is a thing of beauty.

It’s well-protected and a profitable business model, but it relies on central clearing. With a blockchain, you could do that a lot differently. In fact, in the crypto space, you have a real-time settlement.

As an executive, I started getting both excited about the possibilities and also concerned about the threat to the traditional business model. Then, you step back and think about financial services more broadly, and I became convinced that it’s revolutionary.

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