ICAP, the world’s largest interdealer broker, is opening its doors to trading in bitcoin with the launch of its Digital Asset Markets business, which will initially focus on cryptoasset derivatives.
Operating initially from London, with plans to add trading desks in the US and Asia, the broker will provide over-the-counter (OTC) liquidity for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s (CME) bitcoin futures and intends to expand to include a bitcoin non-deliverable forward contract tied to the largest cryptocurrency.
“We have been closely monitoring the development of this emergent asset class and recognise the transformational effect that the underlying technology could have on our industry,” Frits Vogels, EMEA chief executive of TP ICAP said.
“While this marks our first step into the asset class, we believe that cryptoassets are only a subset of a wider universe of digital assets that could be created through the use of this technology, and that the tokenisation of value could have application across multiple traditional asset classes.”
A wider asset range
A Bloomberg report added that to access the firm’s services, customers are required to comply with know your client (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) protocols. It also revealed that TP ICAP is considering other digital assets, including altcoins and tokenised assets.
Vogel confirmed that TP ICAP is reviewing how its global network of trading venues and data services might provide institutional services to clients looking to invest in a wider range of digital assets.
The broker’s announcement comes a few days after the US Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) bitcoin futures vehicle, Bakkt will begin beta testing two physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts – a daily settlement bitcoin and a monthly bitcoin futures contract – on the ICE exchange from July 22, although the final launch date is still unconfirmed.
Reports suggest that the company may also be developing a related digital asset wallet called Bakkt Pay.
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