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Kariya’s promotion to president was announced on Tuesday as the Chicago-based company launched Jump Crypto, the new publicly available brand for its six-year-old digital assets division. The company has more than 80 employees who work in the company’s crypto trading and software development teams.

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Jump has pledged billions of dollars in crypto capital, according to Kariya, convinced that the potential is gigantic. While the company’s roots lie in the old-fashioned derivatives wells of Chicago, its trading in futures, stocks and, more recently, digital assets involves very sophisticated software and infrastructure.

This, Kariya claims, gives Jump the quantitative and technical edge to go far beyond just trading crypto – although it does too.

The company is doing serious work to build the basic plumbing for the rapidly growing decentralized finance industry – better known as DeFi – which aims to replace much of conventional finance with computer programs known as name of smart contracts running on Ethereum, Solana and other blockchains.

“It’s a natural extension of where we started,” Kariya said in an interview. “The DeFi ecosystem is so young, there are so many difficult engineering issues. The work we have done at Jump in building complex, high performance systems allows us to be very important contributors to these open source projects.

Jump has become a major player in crypto. She executes trades for clients of Robinhood Markets Inc .. The company was one of the founders of Pyth, which provides asset price updates every 400 milliseconds to the Solana blockchain, giving ordinary people a access to turbocharged data feeds used by some of the world’s most sophisticated traders.

He contributed to Wormhole, which connects the high-performance Solana blockchain with the more widely used Ethereum blockchain and others. Jump announced last month that it has purchased Certus One, which has helped develop Wormhole.

Wormhole, according to Kariya, has enormous potential. “I don’t think you can see big enough,” he said.

Solana can process around 50,000 transactions per second, like modern stock exchanges. Ethereum can do a dozen. But much of the early work on smart contracts focused on Ethereum, so connecting the two could dramatically increase the reach of DeFi applications.

“The financial industry is undergoing one of the biggest paradigm shifts in its history,” said Dave Olsen, president and chief investment officer of Jump Trading, in a statement. “There is a substantial opportunity for industries including healthcare, real estate and social media to harness blockchain to reliably and efficiently transfer information. “

Raised in Mumbai, Kariya’s first dream job was to join the military. Then he found video games like RuneScape, and his dreams began to involve computers. Kariya decided to go to college in the United States after her visit at the age of 13.

He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the alma mater of Jump co-founders Bill DiSomma and Paul Gurinas. Kariya has partnered with Jump at Research Park, a facility near the school where interns work on projects for large companies like Caterpillar Inc., CME Group Inc., and Procter & Gamble Co.

For Kariya, his internship involved cryptography, something he only knew superficially before.

“It was a bunch of young people talking about crypto,” he said of his time at the Jump’s Research Park office. “It was impossible not to fall in love.”

After graduating in 2018, Jump hired him. Despite his position as a true believer, even he is surprised at how quickly things are changing in the company.

“The thing that was not clear a year ago was whether we would see the explosive growth that we are seeing now” in DeFi, he said. The industry is bustling with activity and it’s easy for people to start developing things with the software equivalent of Lego bricks just waiting to be connected, he said.

“We’ve had beliefs for some time, but we didn’t know how it would play out,” he said. There has been an acceleration, he added, in “the rate at which we are now seeing really smart people coming in and approaching us and wanting to work in crypto.”

Jump is famous for buying and selling financial assets, but Kariya is adamant that Jump Crypto is much more than that, highlighting the work it is doing with the crypto community to create new tools.

“It’s more than business,” he said. “We build the plumbing and infrastructure for decentralized applications. “

Along with Pyth, Jump and its partners provide industry-grade price data on stocks, fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies, and commodities to DeFi developers. An example of an application, Kariya said, is to provide platforms for crypto investors to lend coins at price updates down to the millisecond, in order to avoid disaster in the future. ensuring that you have collected enough collateral to cover losses.

“If that price is being used for that high stakes stuff, you need the prices to be really quick and very accurate,” he said.

Solana’s notoriety has skyrocketed along with its market value this year. It is now the seventh most valuable cryptocurrency with around $ 48 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.com. Much of the payoff came after Jump announced Pyth.

Kariya said his bosses’ marching orders are pretty straightforward: “Make sure we are positioned in the next five years to be a really big player in an industry that we think is going to be huge,” he said. he said, adding that Jump’s strengths in engineering and quantitative analysis give him an advantage. “We’re building this whole business and committing that capital by allowing us to see this space much, much bigger than it is today.”

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