While the major banks are taking their time with offering OTC crypto trading, new entrants to the space are stepping up to fill the void. Social investing platform Etoro, which focuses mainly on retail traders, is now expanding into the institutional segment with a new cryptocurrency offering.
New Crypto Trading Desk for Hedge Funds
Etoro, which recently announced that it is expanding into the US with ten cryptocurrencies, is reportedly setting up an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk in London for institutions wishing to trade on cryptocurrencies. The platform is connected to fifteen cryptocurrency exchanges from which to pool liquidity and is also said to be planning to launch one by itself. The move is explained as answering demands from hedge fund owners who expressed interest in experimenting with crypto trading.
“We are launching an OTC desk for institutions. We’ve seen more and more interest from corporates and institutions,” CEO Yoni Assia told Business Insider. “We’ve actually set up our corporate team here in the UK to start setting up accounts to trade on eToro. We’ve announced that we’re launching the exchange as well so, between the exchange and the OTC desk, we’re also starting to serve more potential institutions and financial institutions.”
The Growing Institutional OTC Crypto Market
Institutional OTC desks help big players whose massive transactions might move the markets if they were done in the open. And trading outside popular exchanges can also be seen as risk management, for trying to avoid losing funds in the case of another exchange hacking incident.
In the US, Circle Financial and Cumberland Mining operate OTC crypto services and Goldman Sachs was reported to be in the process of entering the field, although its CEO has denied the rumors. Additionally, JP Morgan and Fidelity are said to be assessing a move into the space. In the UK, Barclays was reported as supposedly considering launching a crypto trading desk back in April. And financial industry insiders, like David Mercer the CEO of LMAX, which recently launched a physical crypto exchange dedicated to institutional clients, expect UK banks would eventually join the market next year. In the meanwhile, big players have also set up their own private network for OTC trading, buying and selling billions every month among themselves via Skype.
“I think there is growing institutional demand and interest of public investors to understand whether they can join the party,” Etoro CEO Assia said. “That is something we definitely see out there. We see more and more public market players and big banks who are interested in this space and feel left out because they’re not allowed to invest in crypto or ICOs.”
Are London banks in risk of losing hedge fund to new trading desks if they won’t support cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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