TD Cowen shuts down its crypto unit

TL;DR Breakdown

  • Investment bank TD Cowen has shut down the crypto unit of its firm.
  • Challenges continue to linger in the crypto space.

TD Cowen, the American independent investment bank, has announced the shutdown of its crypto unit, Cowen Digital, just over a year after its launch. The closure, effective June 1, comes without a clear explanation from the bank. Cowen Digital was established in March 2022 to offer institutional clients exposure to the cryptocurrency market, featuring 16 digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The unit had plans to expand its services to include futures, derivatives, and decentralized finance.

TD Cowen blames market uncertainty for the closure

The closure of Cowen Digital follows a recent email circulating online, indicating the team’s termination and leaving approximately 10 employees without jobs. The email did not disclose the reasons behind the decision. The move is notable as Cowen bank itself had experienced changes in the past year, including its acquisition by TD Bank Group for $1.3 billion in August 2022, a deal finalized in March 2023.

It is worth mentioning that TD Cowen’s crypto team expressed a desire to continue their work under a different organization. They highlighted the importance of trusted counterparts who understand the needs of institutional investors and emphasized services such as high and low-touch execution, knowledge-driven content, corporate access, and educational events. While the specific organization they might join was not mentioned, they expressed a commitment to pursuing their goals elsewhere.

Challenges in the crypto sector continue to linger

The closure of TD Cowen’s crypto unit is the second institutional crypto unit to shut down within a week. Digital Currency Group (DCG), a venture capital conglomerate, also made the decision to close its prime brokerage subsidiary, TradeBlock, starting May 31. DCG cited the “prolonged crypto winter” and the challenging regulatory environment in the United States as contributing factors. DCG had previously suffered losses of $1 billion in 2022 due to the bankruptcy of the crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.

The shutdown of Cowen Digital and TradeBlock’s prime brokerage subsidiary adds to the list of crypto company collapses over the past year, coinciding with regulatory challenges faced by the banking sector in the United States. The closure of these units raises questions about the viability and sustainability of institutional-focused crypto services in the current market landscape. However, the team from Cowen Digital remains hopeful about continuing their mission elsewhere, suggesting that the demand for trusted counterparts in the crypto space still exists among institutional investors.

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Owotunse Adebayo

Adebayo loves to keep tab of exciting projects in the blockchain space. He is a seasoned writer who has written tons of articles about cryptocurrencies and blockchain.