Nomura M&A Banker Chung Joins Crypto Firm Riot Blockchain

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(Bloomberg) — Riot Blockchain Inc., a Bitcoin infrastructure company, has hired investment banker Jason Chung from Nomura Holdings Inc. as its head of corporate development.

Chung, until recently a Hong Kong-based managing director at Nomura, has joined Castle Rock, Colorado-based Riot Blockchain, the crypto firm said in a statement on Wednesday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. He will also help on financing strategy.

The former banker has been working on mergers and acquisitions at the Japanese lender since 2014, first based in New York and then in Hong Kong, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he spent about eight years with Societe Generale SA.

Riot Blockchain has the largest Bitcoin mining and hosting facility in North America through its subsidiary Whinstone U.S., according to its website.

The company was a biotech testing equipment maker until it renamed itself in 2017 to reflect a new focus on buying cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses. It reported a net loss of $7.9 million in 2021, narrowing from $12.7 million net loss a year earlier.

Shares of Riot Blockchain have plunged about 68% this year in New York as Bitcoin prices slid. The company has a market value of about $913 million.

The departure of Chung follows that of other investment bankers and lawyers who are leaving Wall Street to join fast-growing crypto companies.

In February, Binance Holdings Ltd. tapped Vishal Sacheendran, a former Bank of New York Mellon Corp. banker, as its director of Middle East and Africa. Robbie Nakarmi, the crypto firm’s senior counsel in Dubai, joined late last year after almost a decade as a M&A lawyer. Citigroup Inc.’s Lee Smallwood, chief operating officer for markets in North America, left after six years with the bank to join Hivemind Capital Partners, the crypto investment firm founded by former Citi executive Matt Zhang.