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Up and Running As Cobalt prepares to go live, its founders reflect on the difficulty for banks to innovate like they used to, why blockchain technology in its traditional format is ill-suited to processing FX transactions and why shared infrastructure is – finally – a reality. The first thing that Andy Coyne and Adrian Patten, the co-founders of Cobalt, are keen to emphasise is that the system that they have built is very real and is already up and running. Currently, Cobalt has live transactions from 12 banks going through the system and is due to go into full production this year. They insist that “full production” whilst a technical reality is really only when the final paperwork and vendor risk management (VRM) documents get final sign-offs.
Blockchain Industry Groups Announce Merger The Post-Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group is set to merge with the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC). Founded in November 2015, the PTDL Group aims to bring together major post-trade industry participants and regulators to share information and ideas about how distributed ledger technology can transform the post-trade landscape, while the GBBC is a trade association for the blockchain technology ecosystem. PTDL’s organising committee is made up of representatives from CLS Bank International, HSBC, Janus Henderson, London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), State Street, and GBBC. All of these firms released statements today supporting the merger.
Berenberg AM Adopts BestX Berenberg Asset Management has announced its adoption of BestX, the FX analytics software provider, in order to deliver greater transparency and evidence best execution to their clients. “As one of the largest quantitative active currency managers with an asset base of EUR 11 billion, we have a specific responsibility towards our clients, says Matthias Grimm, head of overlay at Berenberg. “We want to offer them the highest level of transparency, not just for our investment process but also with regards to best execution. We are now able to emphasise our capabilities in execution and independently prove the added value we are generating for our clients.”
Crypto Custodian Secures Insurance from Lloyds Kingdom Trust, which provides custody services for digital asset investments, has secured insurance for digital assets held on its qualified custody platform through Lloyd’s of London. “Qualified custody by a regulated, insured financial institution is a top priority and critical hurdle for institutions to invest in the digital asset markets,” says Matt Jennings, CEO of Kingdom Trust. “By adding another trusted specialist like Lloyd’s to our platform, we’re ensuring that current and future clients will have access to a highly secure, complete safekeeping solution tailored to meet the challenges of institutional finance.”
Vela Partners with CoinMarketCap Technology provider Vela, has announced a partnership with CoinMarketCap, a provider of cryptocurrency data, to add cyrptocurrencies to its market data feed service, SuperFeed. The partnership will provide Vela’s institutional client base with normalised access to the list of more than 1,800 cryptocurrency coins and tokens supported by CoinMarketCap. Vela will integrate CoinMarketCap’s professional API into SuperFeed to enable institutions to access the new data alongside more traditional market data sources. “With crypto being one of the biggest disruptors in our space today, this agreement fortifies Vela’s entry into this innovative digital currency sector,” says Jen Nayar, CEO at Vela.
TransFICC Secures Citi Investment TransFICC, a provider of low-latency connectivity for fixed income and derivatives markets, has secured a strategic investment from Citi, which joins existing shareholders, Illuminate Financial, Main Incubator (which is part of Commerzbank), and The FinLab. TransFICC aims to resolve the issue of market fragmentation by providing banks and asset managers with a unified, low-latency, robust and scalable API. TransFICC seeks to enable financial institutions to access their required e-trading venues, while streamlining technology requirements and reducing operational costs. In addition to securing this investment, TransFICC has joined Citi's Innovation Lab in London, the first external company to do so.
AirSwap Rolls Out Conversational OTC Features AirSwap, a decentralised global network for Ethereum tokens, is rolling out a private, beta version of its new conversational OTC features today, August 15th. AirSwap staff and partners gave product overviews and demos at a private event on August 8th at its Brooklyn loft, which featured presentations on the AirSwap Widget, the Developer Toolkit and a new conversational OTC product. Key partner firms also discussed integration and building on AirSwap. The event kicked off with AirSwap advisor, VC and blockchain enthusiast, Bill “Yoda” Tai, giving an overview of AirSwap’s role in the evolution to frictionless, decentralised, peer-to-peer trading, discoverable by search.
Bank of England Turns to Fintech for Atomic Settlement The Bank of England says it is looking to explore synchronisation of payments in its RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) service, including cross border payments relating to international currency transactions. In a release the Bank says it believes that this functionality could provide an opportunity to reduce cost and risk, improve efficiency, and support innovative new methods of settlement. “We are now seeking to work with a small group of organisations to further explore the potential for this functionality,” it states.
Greenwich Sees e-Trading Shift from FX A new report from research group Greenwich Associates says that the focus of e-trading efforts in financial markets is switching away from mature markets like FX and into high yield bonds and cash equities. In its latest report, From FX to High-Yield Bonds: Global Electronic Trading Update, Greenwich’s head of research, Kevin McPartland, says that the main action has shifted to new frontiers like high-yield bonds and those changing at the hands of new regulations like cash equities, where the impacts of MiFID II and advances in automated trading technology have triggered a surge in e-trading.
AlphaBot Adds Performance Data for Cryptocurrencies AlphaBot has added performance data and analysis tools enabling investors to compare, portfolio build, and compile reports on more than 1,600 cryptocurrencies and tokens. Launched earlier this year, AlphaBot helps allocators - including high net worth individuals, family offices and institutions - find and connect with investment platforms, hedge funds, data sources and other providers. Using AlphaBot, allocators can obtain fund performance and benchmarking data, then model, build and execute portfolios. “As the cryptocurrency markets grow and mature, AlphaBot now is the only platform that allows for thorough research, analysis, and comparison of performance of crypto currencies along-side other investments including hedge funds, CTAs, and equities all in one place,” says Dmitri Alexeev, CEO of AlphaBot.