Month: November 2018

Which Firms Will Drive the Next Wave of Crypto Adoption?

One of the interesting characteristics of the cryptocurrency markets is that trading in these assets has predominantly been driven by retail players, with proprietary trading firms being the first institutional size firms to start getting involved.

So which firms are likely to enter the market next, and will they propel the mainstream adoption of crypto trading?

“Naturally a lot of prop desks are looking at the space in a discrete but very active way,” says Francisco Portillejo Hoyos, CEO of CRYPTALGO. “The other wave is that a lot of family offices are seeing a very nice diversification on their allocations.”

And Another Thing…

There was an interesting line in a report in yesterday’s Handelsblatt discussing the impending lawsuit against the banks in Europe and the US. We, along with other news organisations, reported the impending European lawsuit at the time the US papers were filed (although it did apparently come as a surprise to some outlets who reported the European case “exclusively” one week later!) but the Handelsblatt report has a quote from a source at one of the plaintiffs that I found quite insightful and potentially signals a nightmare for the banks facing the case.

Avelacom Adds Tokyo Connection

Avelacom has announced the launch of a new point of presence in Equinix’s Tokyo (TY3) International Business Exchange data centre, providing trading firms with faster and more reliable connectivity between TY3 and Equinix’s London (LD4/5) data centre facilities. The new London – Tokyo route delivers the lowest latency in the market – 145.3 milliseconds (round-trip), the firm claims.
The new connectivity is designed to serve the needs of financial services firms, enabling them to access market data and send orders at the highest possible speed and improve overall trading performance.

FIA Updates CCP Position Paper Following Nordic Default

The Futures Industry Association (FIA) has released updated recommendations to improve clearinghouse risk management following recent market developments.
The developments in question are the placing of a member of Nasdaq Clearing’s Nordic market in default in September. The losses were sufficiently large to exceed the margin provided by the defaulter and the CCP’s own skin in the game and required the use of the commodities default fund. This was the first use of a default fund by a major CCP since a default on KRX, the South Korean exchange, in 2013.

CLS Goes Live with DLT Netting Service

CLS’s new payment netting service based on distributed ledger technology, CLSNet, has gone live with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
In a release issued today, CLS says that six additional participants from North America, Europe and Asia have committed to joining the service, although the only one it names is Bank of China (Hong Kong), and that the onboarding of several other market participants is planned in the next few months.

CLSNet has been designed to standardise and increase the levels of payment netting in the FX market for trades not settling in CLSSettlement. By standardising and automating the calculation of payment netting, CLSNet aims to reduce costs for market participants and increase liquidity in FX markets. The service was built in conjunction with IBM and runs on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework.

Crypto and FX: More Alike than We Think?

FX industry veteran and Profit & Loss 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, David Ogg, reflected in a recent video interview on how the rapidly evolving crypto markets resemble the FX markets of the past.

“It’s like FX in the 1980s,” said Ogg, who is currently the head of FX and trading venues at OTCXN, before adding, “The front-end technology is pretty primitive.”

By contrast, he said that OTCXN has developed “cutting edge” technology in terms of how it displays liquidity, offering visual tickers that enable traders to get a visual representation of what is happening in the market with just a glance.

10 Firms Join to Create Code of Conduct for Digital Asset Markets

Ten financial services and technology firms leading developments in the digital asset and blockchain space have joined together to create the Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) to establish a Code of Conduct for emerging digital asset markets.

US-based ADAM will proactively seek comprehensive standards for digital asset market participants. The group, which includes BitOoda, BTIG, Cumberland, Galaxy Digital, Genesis Global Trading, GSR, Hudson River Trading, Paxos, Symbiont and XBTO, says it will work with current and former regulators to provide rules for the efficient trading, custody, clearing and settlement of digital assets.

Future guidelines will encourage professionalism and ethical conduct by all market participants, increase transparency by providing information to regulators and the public, and deter market manipulation, the group stated.

LabCFTC Releases Smart Contracts Primer

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s LabCFTC has released, “A CFTC Primer on Smart Contracts”. The primer is part of LabCFTC’s effort to engage with innovators and market participants on a range of fintech topics, and follows on from a 2017 primer on virtual currencies. 

“Smart contracts are being used to drive further automation in our markets and may have an impact across a range of economic activities,” says LabCFTC director Daniel Gorfine. “This primer is focused on explaining smart contracts, exploring how they may impact our markets and highlighting potentially novel risks and challenges.”

The primer sets out to define “smart contracts”, including by exploring their history, characteristics, and potential applications that may eventually impact daily life.

Does the Crypto Price Plummet Tell the Whole Story?

At the start of 2018, the total market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies was above $828 billion, with many predicting that it would only rise further. Now, that market capitalisation is below $130 billion and continues to fall. Meanwhile, the price of bitcoin is down to $3,688, a 42% month-on-month drop and 65% year-on-year. 

But does the price action of cryptos tell the whole story in this space right now? And what are the implications of this bear market on liquidity?

After all, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and Nasdaq both plan to launch new crypto trading platforms next year, while Fidelity is also set to launch an asset custody service in 2019. Trading volumes on the CME and CBOE bitcoin futures have ticked up even as (because?) the market price has trended down and there are still ETF proposals sitting on US regulators’ desks that could still be approved. 

Integral Attracts $15 Million Investment

Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital has made a $15 million investment in Integral Development Corp, a capital injection the firms says enables it to continue the growth of its FX technology platform across a broader set of banks, brokers, and asset managers.
“The market opportunity for Integral has never been better,” says Harpal Sandhu, Integral founder and CEO. “Our focus on building the best FX solutions coupled with our unparalleled customer service has given us the largest installed base in the business – more than 200 leading institutions run on the Integral platform. We look forward to partnering with Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and leveraging their deep experience and global resources.”