Former Jefferies Asia CEO joins crypto firm

Hong Kong
Light trails left by passing ships crossing the Victoria Harbor are seen as buildings stand illuminated on Hong Kong island, left, and in the Kowloon area in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Jefferies Group LLC’s former top banker in Asia is joining, the firm behind a recent $4 billion cryptocurrency offering.

Michael Alexander, who until recently was Asia chief executive officer at Jefferies, will head’s venture capital arm, with a focus on developing projects that rely on the firm’s EOSIO blockchain software, according to a statement. He will be based in Hong Kong and serve on the company’s executive committee.

Alexander adds to the list of bankers and investors who have joined cryptocurrency firms. Bitcoin surged to a peak of almost $20,000 in December 2017, but has since lost 65 percent of its value amid security and regulatory concerns.

Cayman Islands-based plans to invest more than $1 billion in EOSIO projects through the venture fund, and has partnerships with billionaire Michael Novogratz among others, according to the statement. Earlier this year, it raised more than $4 billion in an offering of EOS tokens, the fifth-most valuable cryptocurrency according to data from

Alexander, who joined Jefferies as Asia CEO eight years ago, will remain as an adviser to the brokerage in the region, a spokesman for the New York-based firm said in an emailed statement. He previously worked at CLSA Ltd. and Deutsche Bank AG.