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Bitcoin Trading: Wall Street's Next Big Thing?

Updated from 10:01 a.m. ET to include Glocap comment.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - If you couldn't cut it trading exotic derivatives or bundles of subprime mortgage loans, maybe you'll fare better in what could be Wall Street's next growth area: Bitcoin trading.

On Thursday evening, Wall Street search firm Glocap listed a position for a "Junior Bitcoin Execution Trader" at a San Francisco-based hedge fund. The posting, sent out in an 8:22 p.m. email to subscribers, said "Our client, a San Francisco based hedge fund is seeking a junior trader to assist with Bitcoin execution, general fund operations, and reporting."

By Friday morning, the listing had been amended to remove all references to Bitcoin. Anthony Keizner, a Glocap representative, said in an e-mail that the post was revised because "we felt on reflection that we'd be able to reach the right people and to assess candidate's interest genuine interest in trading and trading ops the way the posting was written."

The job listing didn't mention the name of the hedge fund that's hiring or its size. Dan Primack of Fortune reported on Thursday that Fortress Investment Group (FIG) and San Francisco-based Pantera Capital are starting their own Bitcoin funds.

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TheStreet has a copy of the original email sent out by Glocap, which might be insightful for anyone looking to become the first Gordon Gekko or "Wolf" of Bitcoin trading on Wall Street.

First off, don't fret if you aren't already a master of the universe when it comes to trading Bitcoins.

"Bitcoin and crypto currency knowledge a plus but not required," the Glocap post originally stated.

My sense in reading Glocap's original Bitcoin post is that the ideal candidate would be interested in traditional investing and finance, but also pliable and able to deal with the absurdities of trading Bitcoins, for instance their wild price swings and nebulous collateral. Qualifications for the role appear slightly less onerous and far more abstract than the typical job on Wall Street.

One will need to be "comfortable working with uncertainty" and have a "willingness to work with a brand new product without an, "industry standard." In terms of mental makeup, the ideal trader should be "comfortable working on a volatile, illiquid, and new product."

Hedge fund experience is a "plus" instead of a requirement, and all one would need to qualify is a Bachelor's Degree in finance, accounting or economics with no stipulation about going to an elite university. The prestige thing can be a deal-breaker for many in getting their foot in the door on Wall Street.

"Intermediate-to-advanced" Microsoft (MSFT) Excel skills will suffice. Familiarity with the mechanics of fund accounting is also listed as simply "a plus." In terms of the non-Bitcoin economy, one only needs a "baseline understanding of financial markets."

However, as with any gig on Wall Street these days, a Bitcoin trader is expected to "thrive in a fast-paced environment" and "exhibit a strong work ethic."

Responsibilities include executing Bitcoin trades on exchanges and also bi-laterally with private counterparts. The execution trader would also have to manage the cash balances and settlements of their trading book on a real-time basis.

At major investment houses, execution traders are less glamorous than the proprietary traders who once garnered Wall Street's biggest bonuses.

In interest rate, foreign exchange and credit trading businesses, execution traders normally are responsible for making markets and simply matching trading flows between customers seeking to buy or sell a specific product.

Generally, the goal is to open the day with minimal exposure to any specific currency, credit or interest rate level, trade as much as possible during market hours and then close trading day with a flat exposure to their product. Because less money is on the line, execution traders generally don't have the Ivy League PhD's that are a standard of proprietary trading roles at large banks and hedge funds.

All Wall Street traders have a small army of assistants to input trades into order-management systems, settle payments with their counterparts and manage the intra-day and daily profit and loss of their trading book.

My reading of the Bitcoin trading position, in its original version, is that an execution trader would be more of a one-man-band, transacting on trades and handling the operational paperwork as well.

Anyhow, here's where to apply. The posting doesn't mention the crypto-currency anymore, but trust me, this is a job for someone who wants to trade Bitcoins.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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