Only a small number of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, will initially be offered by EDX Markets, supported by well-known trading and investment companies like Schwab and Citadel Securities.
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The price that traders pay to purchase and sell digital assets will be drastically reduced thanks to the ambitious intentions of a new cryptocurrency exchange founded by some of Wall Street’s top players. It will initially concentrate mainly on a “handful” of tokens, such as bitcoin (BTC), which its legal team is confident aren’t securities. This will let it escape the ongoing regulatory controversy in Washington.
The two biggest U.S. retail brokers, Charles Schwab (SCHW) and Fidelity Investments, support the company EDX Markets (through its digital-assets arm). EDX anticipates that more investors will join the group, including Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial (VIRT), two of the largest trading businesses for American equities, and the investment firms Paradigm and Sequoia Capital.
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According to EDX CEO Jamil Nazarali, the initiative aims to push cryptocurrency closer to the low prices associated with American equities. He used the hypothetical example of an investor looking to purchase an S&P 500 exchange-traded fund worth $5,000. Based on the cut, or spread, an intermediary would take to execute the transaction, the cost of that trade would most likely be a few pennies. According to Nazarali, a similar-sized BTC trade might now cost $25.
Individual investors lose a lot of money because of this market structure, according to Nazarali. We intend to transfer much of the stock market’s efficiency to the digital market.
U.S. officials are currently determining whether certain crypto assets qualify as securities and require additional regulation. EDX is avoiding that conflict. Only “a few tokens that we feel confident are not securities” would be available at launch, according to Nazarali. Among them is bitcoin.
Nazarali stated that EDX will open for a test round of trading in November and begin formally in January but declined to announce any additional participants or provide the precise quantity of tokens.
The retail brokers that are EDX’s backers will supply the exchange with order flow, while Citadel Securities (Nazarali’s old employer), Virtu, and maybe other market makers will execute them in a capacity that they are accustomed to from the equity market. Lower trading costs for customers will partly result from competition among market makers, according to Nazarali.
He continued by bringing over some of the tools that established trading companies like Citadel Securities and Virtu rely on in the stock market and other traditional markets.
Except for the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, which operate out of data centers in other parts of New Jersey, the EDX exchange will be based in the NY4 data center in Secaucus, New Jersey, the East Coast hub for practically all trading in U.S. financial markets.
It then becomes possible for exchange clients to colocate, allowing them to keep their computers in the same data center. As cloud platforms have traditionally served as the foundation for cryptocurrency exchanges, it is more difficult to pinpoint the precise location of a business and, thus, how to gain the quickest access to it.
Lower latency and greater determinism from colocation “enable market makers to offer tighter prices,” according to Nazarali.
The New Jersey location also stands out due to the use of quick, microwave communications networks by significant trading companies like Citadel Securities and Virtue to link NY4 to another meaningful colocation-offering exchange located elsewhere in the United States: CME Group (CME), which is housed in a data center in Aurora, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Professional traders on EDX have a reasonably apparent area to reduce risk if they are trading BTC itself because CME offers bitcoin futures contracts.
The execution of cryptocurrency trades is outsourced to third parties by Robinhood Markets and other significant U.S. retail brokers not currently listed among EDX’s backers, including Jump Crypto, the digital asset division of a trading firm that competes with Citadel Securities and Virtu in traditional markets.
Nazarali expressed his desire to bring that volume to EDX. He claimed that the retail broker-dealers will benefit from having all of that available on the exchange. When asked why he switched from traditional banking to cryptocurrency—he had been a senior executive at Citadel Securities—Nazarali said the dynamism in the ecosystem was a pull. “We want Jump to be a large market maker on EDX.”
There are many young people, he noted. There is a great deal of movement, which is pretty exhilarating.