Skype成加密货币OTC市场“新宠” - 互联网金融门户 未央网

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Skype成加密货币OTC市场“新宠”

路透社报道——交易公司正在商谈着通过Skype来购买、出售和借出比特币、以太币等数字货币,以迎合大型投资者的需求(此类投资者希望能避开摇摆不定的在线交易场所)。

在五年左右的时间里,大约有20家交易商和客户形成了OTC市场(场外交易市场),其中客户涵盖富有投资者、比特币矿工、付款操作者以及越来越多的对冲基金。市场中每天增加数亿美元的加密货币(相关数据路透社主要经由在线消息、参与者得知)。

聚焦加密货币的对冲基金Galois Capital的创始人Kevin Zhou表示:“一般来说,如果你想要做大宗交易,你可以通过OTC柜台进行交易,无需过多地调整市场或导致过多的滑点”。证券交易人的工作地点包括芝加哥的坎伯兰矿业公司(Cumberland Mining),这是自营交易公司DRW Holdings下设的部门;高盛集团(Goldman Sachs Group Inc,GS.N)旗下比特币支付公司Circle和位于纽约的经纪交易商Genesis Global Trading,该公司由Digital Currency Group持有。

OTC交易为独立审计,不必报告,但一些交易商表示,他们的柜台一般明天要处理超过1亿美元的加密货币交易,最低票面金额在7万5美元至25万美元不等。

在经历高调入侵和其他问题之后,OTC交易逐渐开始引起人们对通过数字交易机构存储硬币和法定货币的顾忌和担忧。

“当大额交易遇上黑客入侵时,我们往往会看到业务增长,”一位匿名的场外交易商说到。

OTC交易的结算方式一般为银行电汇和将加密货币发送到数字钱包。

可以肯定的是,OTC交易给参与者带来了自己的风险。价格发现更加混乱,并存在较高的结算风险。客户还需要信任经纪人,让其审查交易对手,以避免无意中帮助洗非法资本。

交易量猛升

首席执行长Michael Moro说,Genesis(名为创世纪,交易平台)平均每天处理的交易额达7500万到8000万美元,是上一年交易量的10倍,并且在12月达到月交易量的记录——15亿到20亿美元之间。

Circle平台发言人Jennifer Hanley说,过去一年,位于波士顿的Circle每月处理的OTC交易量高达40亿美元。

Genesis Trading的全球主管Bobby Cho表示,Cumberland不断在亚洲和欧洲增雇员工、开设办事处。Cho早前曾在itBit和DCGGenesis的前身SecondMarket负责过OTC交易服务。大部分投资者都会直接向交易员发送消息,但企业要求他们与合规部门、交易员和投资者进行知情和反洗钱检查。交易通常由公司的后台办公室进行双边结算。

Cho说:“我们需要一个全球性的工具,基本上是免费的,而Skype正好满足上面两点。” Skype拒绝就此文发表评论。

不过,Cho表示,当前一部分交易已经开始从微软开发的Skype转向更主流的平台。

为了要求在竞标和出价的中间见个面,一方可能会说:“Benji me”——引用短片小说和电影《返老还童》中的主人公Benjamin Button,他以老人形象降生人世,之后越活越年轻,在妻子人到中年时,他也渐渐成长为帅气的中年人。现实并没有这么浪漫,交易员有时会说“butt(对接)”是指比特币。

Cho表示,因为专业的加密交易员很少,聘用人员应该很好地掌握风险管理、新资产类别的利息情况。

主柜台的交易员基本上都是20多岁或30出头的男士。Moro说,Genesis发布了一份初级交易员的工作,前来求职的60个人均为男性。

监管混乱

虽然业务正在增长,但OTC柜台正在试图解决交易市场缺乏监管机构明确的规则的现状。

美国商品期货交易委员会将比特币成为商品。美国证券交易委员会表示,一些加密货币可能是证券,但并未进一步说明。

Sullivan&Worcester的合伙人Joel Telpner表示,交易的资产类型以及是否必须与经过认证的投资者进行交易,决定了柜台是否须向美国监管机构注册,以及他们需要遵守的规则。

Genesis现已注册成为证券交易委员会和金融业监管机构的经纪商。它只支持七种硬币的交易,且与其他公司一样,Genesis会记录下交易者与客户之间的对话。Moro表示:“我们数字货币领域的监管要求很高。”

Hanley 表示,Circle的OTC交易柜台提供“加密货币”的选择“非常有限”,与其“监管许可”保持一致,公司“正在与监管机构密切合作,以促进目前处在发展阶段的OTC市场的透明度。”

Cumberland交易了25到30个加密货币,并鼓励监管机构与参与者合作,以充分了解市场及任何法律和规则的含义。

Trading firms are negotiating buying, selling and lending digital currencies like bitcoin and ether over Skype, catering to big investors looking to avoid rocking already volatile online exchanges.

Some 20 traders as well as clients such as wealthy investors, bitcoin miners, payment processors and, increasingly, hedge funds, have in around five years spawned an over-the-counter market moving hundreds of millions of dollars of cryptocurrencies daily, mostly via online messaging, participants told Reuters.

“Generally, you would go trade through an OTC desk when you have a large block trade you want to do without moving the market too much or incurring too much slippage,” said Kevin Zhou, founder of cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund Galois Capital. The traders work at firms including Chicago-based Cumberland Mining, a division of proprietary trading firm DRW Holdings; Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N)-backed bitcoin payments firm Circle and New York-based broker-dealer Genesis Global Trading, owned by Digital Currency Group.

OTC trades are not reported and independently audited, but some dealers said their desks often handle more than $100 million of cryptocurrency trades daily with minimum ticket sizes between $75,000 and $250,000.

OTC trading may appeal to those wary of stashing coins and fiat currency with digital exchanges after high-profile hacks and other issues.

“When the big [exchange] hacks happen we tend to see business go up,” said an OTC trader who asked to remain anonymous.

The OTC transactions are settled through bank wire transfers and by sending cryptocurrencies to digital wallets.

To be sure, OTC trading carries its own risks to participants. Price discovery is murkier, and there is higher settlement risk. Clients also need to trust brokers to vet counterparties to avoid inadvertently helping launder illegal funds.

VOLUME SPIKE

Genesis on average handles $75 million to $80 million in trades daily, 10 times year-ago volumes, Chief Executive Michael Moro said, and in December hit record monthly volume between $1.5 billion and $2 billion.

Boston-based Circle handled up to $4 billion in OTC trades monthly over the past year, spokeswoman Jennifer Hanley said.

Cumberland has been adding employees and opening offices in Asia and Europe, said global head of trading Bobby Cho. Cho previously worked at exchange itBit and SecondMarket, DCG’s Genesis’ predecessor. Most investors message traders directly, but are required by firms to undergo know-your-customer and anti-money laundering checks with their compliance departments, traders and investors said. Trades are settled bilaterally, generally by the firm’s back office.

“We needed a tool that was global and more or less free and Skype provided that,” said Cho. Skype declined to comment for this article.

Still, Cho said some dealmaking has started shifting from Microsoft Corps’(MSFT.O) Skype to more mainstream platforms.

To ask to meet in the middle of a bid and offer, one party might say “Benji me” - referencing short story and movie character Benjamin Button who ages backwards and is the same age as his wife mid-life. Less romantically, traders sometimes say “butt” to mean bitcoin.

Specialized crypto traders are rare, Cho said, so hires should have a good grasp of risk management and interest in the new asset class.

Nearly all traders on major desks are men in their mid-20s or early 30s. Genesis posted a junior trader job and all 60 applications were from men, Moro said.

REGULATORY MUDDLE

While business is growing, OTC desks are grappling with an absence of clear rules from regulators.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission calls bitcoin a commodity. The Securities and Exchange Commission has said some cryptocurrencies may be securities without specifying further.

What type of asset is traded and whether it must be traded with an accredited investor dictates if desks register with U.S. regulators and what compliance rules they follow, said Joel Telpner, partner at Sullivan & Worcester.

Genesis has registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. It only offers trading in seven coins and, like other firms, records trader-client conversations. “We’re about as highly regulated as you can possibly be in the digital currency space,” said Moro.

Circle’s OTC desk trades a “very limited” selection of cryptocurrencies “aligned” to its “regulatory licensure,” said Hanley, and was “working closely with regulators to foster transparency in this developing market.”

Cumberland trades 25-30 cryptocurrencies and encourages regulators to work with participants to fully understand the market and the implications of any new laws and rules, a DRW spokeswoman said.


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