Bridging TradFi and Crypto: “Compliance and Regulations Concerns for Large Institutions”
At the Finance Magnates London Summit 2023, industry leaders convened for a pivotal discussion on “Bridging TradFi and Crypto: Work in Process”, shedding light on the complexities and opportunities inherent in integrating these two distinct spheres. Moderated by Chen Arad, COO at Solidus Labs, the panel delved deep into the challenges, regulatory concerns, and transformative potential of cryptocurrencies within traditional financial frameworks.
The panel, comprising Cassandra Cox, Director of Institutional Sales at LMAX Digital; Gareth Hughes, Head of Exchange at Zodia Markets; and John Salmon, Partner and Head of Digital Assets and Blockchain Practice at Hogan Lovells International, provided nuanced insights drawing from their extensive experience in both traditional and crypto financial spheres.
Navigating the Convergence: Crypto Assets and Traditional Finance
Cox emphasized the similarities between crypto-assets and traditional asset classes, stressing the importance of providing clients with alpha-generating opportunities while navigating complexities in onboarding and custody solutions.
Cox remarked: «Crypto, akin to traditional asset classes, offers a return structure, providing alpha sources and trading opportunities to clients. The initial conversation mirrors that of other asset classes. While certain aspects of crypto may complicate onboarding and the initial journey, the industry has diligently developed tools that can be swiftly deployed.»
Hughes highlighted the critical decisions surrounding custody solutions and market access, underscoring the importance of reputable service providers and understanding the nuances of crypto trading venues.
John Salmon, Partner and Head of Digital Assets and Blockchain Practice at Hogan Lovells
«The way individuals perceive the crypto industry is inevitably influenced by their background, not just geographically, but from a market perspective. Those with a forex background often liken it to a currency pair, while those with equities experience see it differently.” Hughes commented.”
Cassandra Cox, Director of Institutional Sales at LMAX Digital
“Crypto isn’t entirely distinct; there are many similarities with the FX and equities worlds, such as listed futures. Typically, people start by considering where to custody their crypto, a question you should address personally, whether you prefer owning your own wallets or hosting your infrastructure.»
Salmon echoed their sentiments, emphasizing the dynamic regulatory environment as a primary challenge for institutions considering entry into the crypto space.
Salmon said: «The constantly shifting regulatory landscape and the variations across different jurisdictions pose challenges. At large institutions, there’s an appetite for digital assets broadly, although there’s also apprehension. They’re concerned about compliance, regulations, and legal implications.»
Stablecoins: Bridging Borders amidst Credibility Concerns
The discussion further explored the realm of decentralized finance (DeFi) and its implications for traditional financial institutions and regulators. Hughes expressed the difficulty in navigating the DeFi space due to regulatory concerns, emphasizing the importance of understanding and adhering to KYC/AML regulations.
Gareth Hughes, Head of Exchange at Zodia Markets
Cox highlighted the potential of DeFi as part of the technology solution for bringing tokenized assets into trading environments, while Salmon underscored the challenges in defining DeFi accurately and the importance of regulatory clarity.
Stablecoins emerged as a pivotal growth area, particularly in facilitating cross-border transfers of value. While acknowledging stablecoins’ potential to revolutionize global financial operations, panelists also highlighted credibility challenges facing the cryptocurrency industry, citing instances of scandals involving major players like FTX and Binance. Regulatory clarity was deemed essential to enhance investor confidence and mitigate risks associated with illicit activities and market manipulation.
Institutional Adoption and Regulatory Clarity in Cryptocurrencies
The discussion underscored the critical role of policymakers and regulators in establishing a conducive environment for cryptocurrency development. Concerns were raised regarding the US’s regulatory approach, with skepticism expressed about Chairman Gary Gensler’s purported anti-crypto sentiments and the fragmented regulatory landscape.
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In contrast, European and Asian jurisdictions were praised for clearer regulatory frameworks and proactive approaches to fostering innovation while ensuring consumer protection.
Notably, the approval process for spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the US, was also discussed, with panelists predicting increased institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies in the coming year. They stressed the need for responsible governance and compliance as the industry matures and gains wider acceptance.
While regulatory challenges persist, there is optimism for progress and mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The panelists emphasized the importance of clear regulatory guidance, collaborative efforts between industry stakeholders and regulators, and ongoing dialogue to navigate the evolving landscape effectively.
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