The ex-Goldman Sachs trader is building a global cryptocurrency powerhouse

Yuzo Kano is trying to build a global cryptocurrency powerhouse, one former financier at a time.

The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alumnus, who turned bitFlyer Inc. into Japan’s largest Bitcoin exchange, is scooping up traders and bankers from both his old employer and former rivals as he embarks on an ambitious international expansion. Kano’s team, which includes a former fixed-income desk head at Barclays Plc and an ex-senior private banker at Credit Suisse Group AG, has doubled to more than 150 people in the past six months and is on pace to top 300 before year-end.

While he’s far from the only crypto boss to poach talent from Wall Streetfirms, Kano has been among the most aggressive in taking advantage of recent Japanese regulations that make the finance-to-crypto leap less daunting. The nation’s virtual currency exchanges are now licensed by Japan’s securities watchdog, giving the venues an official stamp of approval that’s largely absent from countries like the U.S. and Britain. For Kano, that makes Japan the ideal base for an increasingly global operation.

 “My target is to be number one in the world,” the former derivatives and convertible bonds trader said in an interview from his office in Midtown Tower, the tony Tokyo skyscraper that’s also home to Blackstone Group and Bain & Co. “To get there, I need to grow headcount. And those with the best skills come from global banks.”



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