In Wednesday’s edition of The Daily we cover a number of developments that show how cryptocurrency exchanges around the world are evolving to attract institutional investors while also adding new services to stay competitive in this bearish market.
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Huobi Sheds Staff and Plans Stablecoin
Huobi is the latest cryptocurrency company to reduce its staff to cope with the current challenging market environment. The exchange is reportedly downsizing loss-making units such as venture funding and news aggregation. Huobi has already closed its subsidiary in Shenzhen that once employed about 30 people in research and development and the Huobi Info news app is now operated by just a few people. According to a report from China, the company still has 1,300 employees around the world after scrapping about 100 positions over the past few weeks.
Despite these changes, the company is looking forward to adding new services in 2019 including potentially launching its own stablecoin. “2018 brought us huge challenges but I’m personally optimistic about the crypto market. I do think we’ll see things get better this year,” Chris Lee, CFO of Huobi Group, said on Jan. 20 at an event in Singapore. He identified a number of priorities the company will be concentrating on in 2019, including upgrades to its trading systems, further development of regional exchanges, and stablecoins. “This year will be huge for stablecoins and we will be a part of that. Likely Huobi Group will launch its own stablecoin in 2019 in the first half of the year,” Lee added.
New OTC Desk to Launch in US
Nukkleus Capital, a boutique brokerage firm based in the U.S., is reportedly set to launch a new OTC crypto trading desk. The venture is aiming to attract clients from the buy side of the financial services industry including hedge funds, asset managers, family offices and high net worth individuals. The company will also provide in-house custodial services and plans to launch an exchange in the first quarter of 2019.
“We are trying to bridge the gap between the institutional world and the retail crypto world,” Joe Tuccio, head of asset management at Nukkleus Capital, told Finance Magnates. “If we can help build a streamlined product that replicates other financial markets offerings, I feel this market will flourish and mature. The recent commitments of major institutions like Bakkt, ICE, Fidelity and Erisx demonstrate that a formidable foundation of this new asset class is being soundly laid which will bring confidence to traditional capital market participants to deepen digital asset liquidity across products.”
AAX to Use London Stock Exchange Technology
Hong Kong-based Atom Group has announced that its upcoming AAX digital asset exchange will use institutional-grade tech from London Stock Exchange Group Technology. AAX is set to launch in H1 2019 and will be built on LSEG Technology’s Millennium Exchange matching engine, which also provides technology services to London Stock Exchange and other traditional venues such as HKEX and SGX.
AAX will enable users to trade spot and futures markets for cryptocurrencies, and it plans to eventually add a range of tokenized assets including securities tokens, asset-backed tokens and stablecoins. Atom will also launch AAX Pro, a trading platform catering for institutional clients with low latency connectivity and co-location services.
“We are delighted to have been selected by ATOM to provide a best-in-class technology solution to help power its new exchange. It underlines Millennium Exchange’s reputation for performance, scalability, flexibility and reliability and we look forward to working with the AAX team ahead of the launch in H1 2019,” said Ann Neidenbach, CIO at LSEG Technology.
Coinbase Expands Services for High Volume Customers
Coinbase has announced that it will now support inbound and outbound Swift transfers from non-U.S. bank accounts, meaning that its Pro and Prime customers in Asia and Europe can use wire transfers to fund their accounts. A select group of Coinbase Prime customers from around the world will also now have access to the company’s U.S. and European OTC trading desks and Coinbase Custody, its New York-regulated cold storage solution.
“In the past 12 months, hundreds of crypto-first hedge funds have launched around the world, and many hundreds more traditional institutions such as proprietary trading firms, family offices and endowments have begun actively trading digital assets,” explained Coinbase’s Elliott Suthers. “Coinbase’s suite of products — Coinbase Pro, Coinbase Prime and Coinbase Custody — serves these customers, along with other participants in the market, like asset issuers, exchanges and miners.”
Okex Adds Thai Baht and British Pound OTC Trading
Okex, the Malta-based exchange, has announced the launch of two new fiat currencies on its over-the-counter trading platform: Thai baht (THB) and British pound (GBP). Users in Thailand and the United Kingdom need to complete KYC verification to be eligible to trade on the fiat-to-crypto platform. The THB and GBP OTC trading markets currently support BTC, USDT, ETH, and LTC.
“Thailand and the UK own the fastest growing crypto communities in the world. We see great potential in these two markets and want to support the needs there. Because of the increasing trading volume and number of traders in these two countries, we decided to launch the new THB and GBP trading services on our OTC trading platform. Wherever the market potential locates, we will expand to there. In 2019, you can expect more currencies will be supported on OKEx,” said Andy Cheung, the company’s head of operations.
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