TP ICAP, the world’s largest interdealer-broker, announced last week that its Fusion Digital Assets marketplace for spot crypto trading had gone live with its first trade. The traditional finance giant is bringing crypto to more institutional investors during a prolonged bear market and after a number of headline-grabbing scandals rocked the industry.
“While the crypto-native landscape still feels a little somber, when we look at our traditional client base and we look at the relationships we’ve been developing, it actually feels reasonably optimistic," Simon Forster, global co-head of Digital Assets at TP ICAP Group, told CoinDesk. "There’s a lot of people building interesting things. And it feels like 2022 is this watershed moment where the crypto landscape has changed we think probably forever."
Traditional finance-tailored companies need to have strict governance and regulatory structures in place before offering any service to investors, which makes the launch of a new marketplace a long and difficult process. TP ICAP aims to offer infrastructure that looks more familiar to institutional investors than what’s offered by vertically-integrated crypto exchanges that combine their exchange, custody and other businesses and create potential conflicts of interest, explained Forster.
Fusion Digital Assets has a partitioned operational structure that includes TP ICAP’s Fusion electronic trading platform that provides the non-custodial crypto exchange, Fidelity’s Digital Assets SM as the custodian that holds and settles client assets, and an aggregation of liquidity sources including Flow Traders and XBTO Global. TP ICAP plans to bring on additional custodians in the future to provide more options for investors.
The first trade was a bitcoin-U.S. dollar (XBTUSD) pairs trade. The marketplace currently supports trading in bitcoin and ether (ETH) against USD, but the firm is open to expanding the assets it supports according to client demand.
TP ICAP’s Digital Assets arm has existed since 2019. Three years later, TP ICAP announced it would offer clients the ability to trade crypto-linked exchange-traded products (ETPs). The company gained its UK crypto license in December after registering with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), meaning the new Fusion Digital Marketplace is open to traders in the region. The firm plans to add additional supported regions as regulatory approvals permit, said Forster.