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R3 Raises $107 Million R3 has raised $107 million in the first two of three planned tranches in its Series A fundraising round. This represents the largest single investment in a firm providing distributed ledger technology (DLT) services to date. According to data from CoinDesk, which tracks venture capital (VC) investment in blockchain and bitcoin focused firms, only Coinbase, Circle Internet Financial and 21 Inc, have now raised more VC money than R3. However, none of these firms are exclusively focused on DLT and in some cases they have clearly conducted more fundraising rounds.
NEX Infinity Launches with Spot FX NEX Optimisation will be launching its new NEX Infinity platform in July, when its clients will be able to start testing spot FX and cash equities in the Infinity distributed ledger. In addition to its use of blockchain technology, the new architecture also utilises cloud hosting in a bid to simplify trade processing, improve clients’ control of their data and reduce costs. As a Software as a Service platform, Nex Infinity will also allow third-party technology providers to offer their services on the platform.
CFTC Announces New FinTech Initiative The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has launched LabCFTC, a new initiative aimed at promoting responsible FinTech innovation to improve the quality, resiliency, and competitiveness of the markets the CFTC oversees. Located in New York, LabCFTC will also look to accelerate CFTC engagement with FinTech and RegTech solutions that may enable the CFTC to carry out its mission responsibilities more effectively and efficiently. The initiative was approved by a unanimous vote of the Commission. “Simply put, LabCFTC is intended to help us bridge the gap from where we are today to where we need to be: 21st century regulation for today’s digital markets,” says CFTC Acting Chairman Christopher Giancarlo.
GKFX Goes Live With TradAir Platform TradAir has announced that GKFX, a broker regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has gone live with its margin/credit FX-CFD platform. According to TradAir, the platform was developed in response to demand from institutional brokers for a margin and credit solution in one platform that provides effective pre-trade control over client access to liquidity. The platform supports bespoke liquidity provision, granular per instrument leverage, and fully automated risk management decision making for periods of extreme market volatility or event risk, such as seen over SNB move and more recently with Brexit, the company says.
Kalahari Launches FX Futures, OTC Arb Tool Kalahari, a provider of real-time pricing and analytics software for financial markets firms, has launched an FX futures and rates service designed to enable users to benefit from real-time futures versus OTC market arbitrage opportunities. The service is available to traders via Web browser or via direct feed and is the first in a series of new futures/OTC comparison pricing services planned by the firm this year. Other instruments planned for launch include: MAC swaps for US dollars, EUR and GBP currencies and gold futures pricing, to coincide with the new contracts being launched on the London Metals Exchange this June – all crossed with the OTC markets – to follow soon after.
Pragma Extends Algo Offering to NDFs Pragma Securities has expanded its algorithmic trading platform, Pragma360, to include NDF products. While the latest Bank for International Settlements (BIS) survey in 2016 showed that spot FX trading was down 19% compared to three years previous, it also showed that the NDF market grew by 5.3% over the same time period. The growth of the NDF market, as well as the fact that these products increasingly trade electronically, is what prompted Pragma to start offering algorithmic tools for trading them, Curtis Pfeiffer, chief business officer at Pragma, tells Profit & Loss.
TraderTools Reports Volume Growth Although it does not provide specific numbers, TraderTools says that Q1 2017 volumes across its Unique Liquidity Network (ULN) were 217% above Q4 2016 volumes. It adds that the ULN now consists of over 25 “unique” liquidity providers, making prices in emerging and “under-served” market currencies such as Turkish lira, South African rand, Russian ruble, Israeli shekel, the CE-3 currencies, and the Scandinavian currencies. The number of “unique” takers connected to the ULN increased in Q1 by more than 20%, the firm also states.
Cobalt Signs Up Non-Banks, Announces Expansion Citadel Securities and XTX Markets have signed up as Cobalt launch participants. Cobalt’s FX solution is set to launch later this year. There are currently 22 beta participants on Cobalt’s peer-to-peer network including Citi, which became a Cobalt investor in 2016, and Cobalt’s technology partners, including Setl, First Derivatives and Tradepoint. Cobalt has also announced the expansion of its core team and the opening of a New York office. Devika Darbari joins Cobalt as COO from JDX Consulting, where she was a board member and CEO Americas. She will also head up operations in the US.
Noble Launches Real-Time Post Trade FX Service Noble Bank International has launched its initial service, Noble FX, which is designed to allow its clients to create their pools of credit, enabling counterparties to clear, net and settle spot FX and precious metals in real-time. The firm says that its fully customisable and configurable rules that guide each pool will provide users of the service with improved flexibility and functionality in post-trade processing. In addition, Noble claims that its platform introduces an “industry changing” approach to reducing counterparty settlement risk for OTC trading.
IHS Markit Reports Spike in NDF Clearing IHS Markit says that in 2017 it has processed a monthly average of 54,000 NDF contracts via Markitserv, a 920% increase compared to the same period last year. “NDF clearing has seen strong interest as a response to the uncleared margin rules and other market factors,” says William Black, US head of OTC derivatives clearing at Credit Suisse. “We are proud to bring a scalable solution to this space and look forward to partnering with non-member clients as the market continues to develop.”