Cryptocurrency company Zodia Custody has appointed Julian Sawyer as CEO.

The London-based crypto custodian, a subsidiary of Standard Chartered, has replaced internal hire Maxime de Guillebon with Sawyer, a co-founder of neobank Starling.

Sawyer left his former role as CEO of Bitstamp in May last year after 18 months. He moved into the crypto industry in 2019 when he was appointed managing director for Europe at another crypto exchange, Gemini.

Prior to serving as COO at neobank Starling for four years, Sawyer sold his financial services management consultancy Bluerock Consulting in 2011.

Zodia recently launched Interchange, a service to protect customers’ assets from crypto exchange insolvencies such as that seen at collapsed FTX.

Interchange will hold clients’ assets while they are mirrored on crypto exchanges for trading.

“I’m excited to announce that I have recently joined Zodia Custody as CEO,” said Sawyer. “The business prides itself on being one of the leading institutional crypto custodians with both FCA and CBI registrations backed by Standard Chartered Bank and Northern Trust Corporation. 

“I am looking forward to working with the talented team at Zodia to drive the business forward.”

UK crypto framework ‘well ahead’ of US

The CEO of Ripple says the UK’s framework for cryptocurrency is “well ahead” of the United States.

However in a Twitter thread Brad Garlinghouse said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the US gaining breakthrough regulatory clarity this year.

His company continues to face an ongoing legal case with authorities. In December 2020 the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Ripple – operator of the RippleNet global payment network – alleging that it failed to register sales of its cryptocurrency XRP as securities, as required by law.

Ripple denies the allegations, claiming XRP is a currency, not a security.

“Singapore, the EU, Brazil, and Japan all have crypto frameworks – and the UK is well ahead of the US,” he wrote. 

Referencing collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX – based in the Bahamas – he continued: “The lack of coordinated standards globally – or any in the US – continues to push business to countries with lower regulatory bars – with sometimes catastrophic results.”

However Garlinghouse said the industry in the US is “not working with a blank slate”, referencing numerous prior bills which have focused on stablecoins, digital asset security definitions and ‘safe harbors’.

“No bill is perfect and there likely never will be one that satisfies everyone. But perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of progress – these proposals provide more than a starting point for debate in this new Congress. The stakes couldn’t be higher,” he said.

“Changing the status quo is never easy but I believe that the will to act exists. The building blocks for regulation have already been introduced, and we have a chance to get this right for millions of Americans who already are – and will continue to be – interested in crypto.”

Cryptocurrency shorts

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to eight charges including defrauding customers and investors at a New York US District Court. He is now free on bail – following a record $250 million bond – for 10 months until a trial in October. He is to be monitored constantly, undergo regular mental health checks, surrender his passport and remain in the Northern District of California.

A joint statement from the US Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has warned banks over potential fraud, legal uncertainty and misleading disclosures within the cryptocurrency market.

NFT marketplace Magic Eden insists that it has not been hacked after users were presented with pornographic images when loading their collections. The Solana-based platform claims a third-party image hosting provider had been “compromised”.

The trading volume for NFTs across all sectors plunged almost 90% year-over-year in December, while sales value plummeted 76% to $638 million, according to data presented by

VC funding for crypto startups in December totalled $660m, down 21.5% from November 2022 and 82.5% from December 2021 ($3.76 billion), according to a report by Wu Blockchain.

Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the 22,100 coins is at $820 billion at the time of writing (7am UK), a 1.4% increase in the last 24 hours.

For round-ups of recent cryptocurrency news developments, click here.

For valuations of the top 100 coins by market cap in US dollars, plus 24-hour price change, see below.