Founder of crypto company valued at $3bn dies ‘unexpectedly’ at age 30

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Tiantian Kullander, the co-founder of Hong Kong-based digital asset company Amber Group, died at the age of 30 on 23 November, confirmed a company statement issued on Sunday night.

The unexpected death of the young crypto founder has left many in the financial markets sector shocked.

The statement revealed that Kullander, a former Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs trader affectionately known as “TT”, “unexpectedly” died in his sleep. It did not share any other details.

“It is with the deepest sadness and a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of our friend and co-founder, Tiantian Kullander, who passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on November 23, 2022,” it read.

The statement described him as “instrumental to the founding of Amber and a pillar of our success”.

“He put his heart and soul into the company, in every stage of its growth. He led by example with his intellect, generosity, humility, diligence and creativity,” it said.

“TT was a respected thought leader and widely recognised as a pioneer for the industry. His depth of knowledge, his willingness to collaborate and his desire to always help others benefited countless start-ups and individuals,” it added.

Kullander’s company, Amber, was recently valued at $3bn after scoring a $200m funding round. He set up the company in 2017 with a group of finance insiders, including former Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley workers.

News reports said Amber Group was in a bid to raise a further $100m earlier this month.

The firm has over 300 employees in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Vancouver. In 2017, Amber Group’s founders had initially sought to apply machine learning to quantitative trading, but pivoted to crypto in 2019 when the trading volumes for the virtual currency increased.

Kullander had made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list while working as a trader.

“We lost a great partner and a true friend in TT and words cannot express our sorrow at this time,” said the Amber Group statement.

“TT’s legacy will live on and we will work even harder to make Amber the category-defining leader of our industry, as this was TT’s ambition and dream.

Kullander, described as “a devoted husband, a loving father and a fierce friend”, is survived by his wife and son.

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