TP ICAP, a provider of market infrastructure, is to launch an wholesale trading platform for cryptoassets, working in collaboration with Fidelity Digital Assets, Zodia Custody and Flow Traders.
The new platform, which is subject to registration with the UK Financial Conduct Authority, will feature a wholesale electronic marketplace for spot cryptoasset trading, including bitcoin and ether, as well as providing connectivity and post-trade infrastructure into a network of digital assets custodians.
TP ICAP is working with Fidelity Digital Assets and Zodia Custody, both leading crypto assets custodians, to ensure clients have a segregated and interoperable model for execution and settlement, a key requirement for clients entering this new asset class. The firms have collaborated to develop a new trading model where clients will be able to access liquidity at TP ICAP whilst their assets remain under custody at their digital asset custodian of choice, providing a level of security that institutional investors expect. Fidelity Digital Assets and Zodia Custody will provide custodian services to the new platform.
TP ICAP launched its Digital Assets business in 2019, enabling clients to trade cryptoasset derivatives products; this new trading platform for the spot market significantly expands the firm’s footprint in this fast-growing area.
Simon Forster, Co-Head of Digital Assets at TP ICAP, says: “Client demand to trade spot cryptoassets is significant and growing, with interest coming from our traditional customer base across the different asset classes we operate in. But to date many of our clients have been prevented from accessing cryptoasset markets due to current limitations in market infrastructure, with most execution venues requiring pre-funding and also acting as custodian. This poses challenges from a conflict of interest perspective and results in fragmented liquidity. Our partnership, and resultant new platform, is a natural evolution in market structure that will make digital assets, such as Bitcoin, more accessible for the wholesale market.”
TP ICAP has also partnered with Flow Traders, a leading global financial technology-enabled liquidity provider in financial products, historically specialised in Exchange Traded Products (ETPs), now expanding into other asset classes. Flow Traders has been providing liquidity to cryptoasset markets since 2016 and will be one of the initial liquidity providers on this new platform.
Michael Lie, Head of Digital Asset Trading at Flow Traders, says: “We are delighted to be partnering with TP ICAP as a liquidity provider on this new platform. As the #1 market maker in cryptocurrency ETPs, as well as being a leading spot OTC liquidity provider, we have seen first-hand the increase in institutional interest in cryptoassets. We have long been in favour of initiatives such as this that will make the crypto space more accessible for investors.”
The platform has already started to onboard clients and will launch to the market in the second half of the year, by which time TP ICAP expects to announce additional liquidity providers. TP ICAP is also working closely with a number of additional strategic custody partners and expects to expand its network of digital asset custodians as it establishes a new industry model for clearing and settlement.
The TP ICAP Digital Assets business is led by Duncan Trenholme and Simon Forster and operates from the firm’s offices in London, New York, and will soon expand into Asia. The trading platform, which will be launched in London, will be made available globally to customers across the TP ICAP Group as well as to new clients of the firm seeking market access to this new asset class.
Andrew Polydor, Global Head of Markets at TP ICAP, says: “This platform will provide our global client base with the trading infrastructure, connectivity, surveillance, and market standards they require as a minimum across traditional markets whilst also recognising the nuances of this new asset class. It leverages mature trading technology developed by our partners GMEX Technologies, to provide spot liquidity in digital assets as well as access to multiple custodians via a bespoke post-trade solution. These are key requirements for our institutional clients who want to be able to trade, invest and safely access this growing area of the market.”
Chris Tyrer, head of Fidelity Digital Assets in Europe, says: “Collaborating with industry leaders like TP ICAP to bring to market innovative solutions that strengthen the digital assets ecosystem is critical to enabling even more institutional participation. With this new infrastructure, we’re addressing one of the frictions in the investor experience that’s unique to this nascent asset class. Now, investors can more confidently execute trades knowing their assets remain still and secure in our custody.”
Maxime de Guillebon, Chief Executive Office of Zodia Custody, says: “Zodia and TP ICAP share the same vision of the future of crypto asset investing. By combining liquidity with institutional-grade custody we will create an ecosystem that complements the expectations of institutional investors in terms of segregation of duties and asset safety. This infrastructure will enable operational efficiency and speed of transaction without compromising on security or reliability.”
Zodia Custody is a venture incubated by SC Ventures, the innovation arm of Standard Chartered. Zodia combines the Banks’ expertise as trusted custodians with the agility of a fintech company to drive industry leadership and transformation. Zodia is a cryptocurrency custodian serving institutional clients across the globe. Zodia is in the process of registering with the FCA under UK Money Laundering Regulations and expects to launch commercially in the second half of 2021.