Harpal Sandhu, CEO of Integral, talks to Profit & Loss about the launch of his new cryptocurrency exchange, and how he sees the crypto markets evolving in the future.Profit & Loss: What was the genesis of Mint Exchange?Harpal Sandhu: A lot of people don’t realise that the derivatives markets in cryptoassets is actually quite a lot larger than the physical market. Because of this, we were speaking to a lot of FX brokers, people who were trading large amounts of crypto and CFDs, and they were having problems trying to hedge those positions because, unlike FX they can’t go to prime brokers or prime-of-primes in order to access liquidity, so there’s very few places that these firms can go in order to hedge their crypto exposures.
As cryptoassets continue to endure a tough bear market, Profit & Loss hosted an event called OnTheBlock to discuss what impact this has had on liquidity conditions.“Right now, we haven’t seen the wave of institutional money that everybody talked about in 2017,” said Martin Garcia, managing director at Genesis Trading. “The narrative then was very much that this is just the retail sector trading these assets and that when the institutional funds come in, it will grow to yet another scale.”To be clear, Garcia still thinks that institutional-sized money and liquidity will enter the crypto space, but that it will do so at a much slower and steadier pace than many were previously predicting.
How have crypto markets in Asia evolved in comparison to those in the US and Europe? And will these markets look more or less different in the future? Galen Stops takes a look.
T aking a glance at the biggest crypto exchanges by volume and a clear pattern emerges: according to data from coinmarketcap.com, a website that tracks crypto trading volumes, at least seven of the top 10 ranked exchanges are based in the APAC region.
By contrast, some of the more better known US-based exchanges are found much further down the list.
The potential for Asian FX markets has long been talked about but has rarely been delivered, that may be changing, however, as Colin Lambert finds out.
When, in the early morning of October 7, 2016, the FX market witnessed a flash crash in Cable, there was a collective metaphorical shrugging of the shoulders, as epitomised by one London-based trader who told Profit & Loss, “It’s Asia – that type of thing happens.”
The perception is that institutions pay less attention to Asia, allocate fewer resources to the region generally and, as one global head of FX puts it, “Rely upon Asia not to drop the ball.”
Exegy and Transaction Network Services (TNS) have announced a partnership in offering a global FX trading platform.
The firms will combine TNS’ market connectivity and hosting solutions and Exegy’s Trade Port FX, which delivers normalised FX market data and execution services to major FX venues, to offer a fully managed and integrated FX trading platform.
“Exegy is excited to be working with TNS to create a global, state-of-the-art FX trading platform,” says Exegy sales director in Europe and Asia, Carlos Lansdowne. “TNS’ global presence, renowned reputation for superior customer service, coupled with Exegy’s FX market data and order execution solutions will deliver better performance, lower total cost, and a disruptive new model in the FX industry.”
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.
Uncertainty about regulations, a lack of trusted custodians and concerns about security are key factors that continue to deter many large financial institutions from trading cryptoassets, says Kevin Beardsley, a managing partner at B2C2.
Amongst these three factors, Beardsley cited the lack of regulatory clarity around cryptoassets as the biggest issue for these firms right now, pointing out that no major bank wants to clash with their regulators for trading in what is, relatively speaking, still a small marketplace.
“The large institutions are all waiting for the regulations to become clear, which is a very rational approach,” he says.
Although fintech solutions are likely to change how FX operates throughout the trade lifecycle, expect these changes to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, explained speakers during a recent Profit & Loss webinar.
The word “disruption” has become synonymous with fintech in recent years, with numerous articles, whitepapers and analyst reports warning that fintech upstarts are looking to upset the applecart in financial services.
Yet speakers on a recent Profit & Loss webinar, FinTech in FX: Getting Beyond the Hype, which was sponsored by IHS Markit, preferred to talk in terms of innovation rather than disruption when discussing the impact of fintech in the FX markets.
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) has published a whitepaper calling for greater standardisation and automation of derivatives market infrastructures.
The new paper, The Future of Derivatives Processing and Market Infrastructure, highlights a number of challenges with existing structures and processes, and recommends several steps the derivatives industry can take to create efficiencies – in particular, by embracing opportunities for further standardisation.
“The derivatives industry has become reliant on legacy infrastructures and processes that have been layered on top of each other over time. That might be the result of historical acquisitions, where the respective systems haven’t been fully integrated. More recently, the sheer pace of regulatory change has meant firms have been under pressure to tackle the next pressing deadline. The result is a derivatives infrastructure that is duplicative and based on incompatible operating standards, and this isn’t sustainable,” says Scott O’Malia, CEO of ISDA.
After a number of years having to take reactionary measures in response to new regulatory requirements, panellists at Profit & Loss’ Forex Network New York conference expressed enthusiasm for a new wave of innovation that has the potential to re-shape FX market infrastructure. “Perhaps for the first time in eight years, innovation is back on […]