Two executives from Citigroup's digital assets division have announced plans to leave the Wall Street firm and venture into the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. The two, Greg Girasole and Alex Kriete, head up Citigroup's digital assets division.

Citigroup executive resigns

One of the executives, Kriete, posted on LinkedIn about plans to launch a cryptocurrency startup. The startup will focus on blockchain technology and the digital asset space. Kriete noted that he is optimistic about the benefits of the cryptocurrency industry and how the industry will grow globally in the future.

"More than five years ago, my personal interest and subsequent writing about blockchain-enabled digital assets (yes, "cryptocurrencies") led to an amazing network of colleagues in the Citi business, outside companies and interested clients, at a time when I will be taking on a new challenge professionally by creating a new company in this space," the announcement said.

This is not the first Citi employee to leave the company to enter the cryptocurrency space. Matt Zhang, former head of structured products, left the firm to found Hivemind, an investment firm focused on cryptocurrencies.

Christopher Perkins, a veteran of the firm, also said he is stepping down after more than a decade of service at the firm. Perkins becomes president and managing partner of CoinFund, a New York-based cryptocurrency investment fund.

Citigroup ventures into cryptocurrency

Last June, Citigroup announced its entry into the cryptocurrency wealth management space. It dedicated an entire division to digital assets. The division is led by Kriete and Girasole, who are in contact with the firm's functional partners as well as the bank's capital markets and investment departments.

Five months after establishing the division, Citigroup announced the addition of 100 new employees. The division is led by Puneet Singhvi and is responsible for facilitating internal activities such as trading, investment banking and how these activities work with blockchain technology and the digital asset division as a whole.

The primary goal of launching this digital assets division was to engage with the firm's internal and external stakeholders, including its customers, startups and regulators.

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