Wall Street banks are expanding crypto sell-side research

Several traditional banks are looking to fill crypto-related roles within their research divisions — the latest sign that the digital asset ecosystem is becoming fully integrated with the broader market. 

Investment banks have long produced research on digital assets, but such firms are now wanting to pay closer attention, as the number of large publicly traded firms operating in the space grows and crypto markets bleed into traditional finance. At the end of last year, Morgan Stanley announced that Sheena Shah would lead a new team covering the crypto ecosystem, while Bank of America announced its own crypto coverage unit in October. 

Coinbase — the poster child of the US crypto market — has a long list of analysts covering its stock, including researchers from Citi, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Raymond James. 

In addition to covering the business of crypto firms, analysts also unpack macro topics that may shape the price gyrations of tokens, new technological developments in the blockchain space, and other topics. 

“If you look at the number of corporates mentioning crypto on their earnings calls, that’s gone from about 17 last year to about 147 in the most recent quarter,” Candace Browning, head of global research at BofA Securities recently told Bloomberg TV. 

The trend has also been fueled by rebrands, such as in the Meta (formerly Facebook) and Block (formerly Square) aimed at highlighting crypto ambitions. As for the metaverse, the niche new crypto buzzword was mentioned by executives of Bumble, Qualcomm, and Tencent during Q3 earnings calls. 

Amidst the growing intrigue over crypto, Jefferies has stood up a research team dedicated to payments and crypto equity research, according to a job ad. The firm is currently seeking an associate for the unit to focus on “cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.”

Canaccord Genuity is looking to fill a similar junior-level role, which will interface with company management teams and write research reports. 

Credit Suisse, meanwhile, is looking to fill a crypto and digital assets role at the VP level, also according to a job ad. That person would draft reports on the crypto industry and present them to the firm’s institutional and wealth management clients. 

Such firms, to be sure, are going head to head for talent with crypto-native firms offering research and company coverage, including Galaxy Digital. 

As for recent moves and promotions, John Todaro joined Needham & Company last year and was promoted to its crypto-asset and blockchain research principle in December, according to the former TradeBlock director’s LinkedIn. Todaro is among Coinbase’s analysts. And Goldman Sachs’ Mike Nance, who has been with the bank since 2015, took on the position of lead research analyst for payments and digital assets sectors last year. 

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