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Opinion

Sideways: Code switching for crypto bros

Bitcoin’s move into the mainstream is forcing crypto financiers to develop code switching skills to communicate with Wall Street without alienating online evangelists.

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When BlockFi co-founder Zac Prince suffered online attacks alleging that his firm could have lost $232 million from a reversal in an arbitrage play between the price of bitcoin and a premium to net asset value for the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, he knew what to do.

Rather than issuing a formal rebuttal of the allegations, Prince instead made appearances on bitcoin podcasts where he could be confident of a friendly reception. Prince’s firm is a sponsor of one of the podcasts, something that should inspire confidence in any guest.

Prince isn’t just hoping to profit from holding bitcoin, however. He is trying to build a financial services business that will “redefine banking” by moving beyond its core crypto lending activity.

Prince isn’t just hoping to profit from holding bitcoin... He is trying to build a financial services business that will ‘redefine banking’

BlockFi already has more than 500 employees and aims to expand beyond 1,000. It recently raised $350 million in a funding round that was announced with excellent timing just as speculation about trading losses spread and that took the firm’s valuation to $3 billion.

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