The worlds of traditional finance and cryptocurrency have always been divided, for regulatory and technical reasons. Until recently, it was difficult for cryptocurrency traders to gain exposure to stocks and commodities. Currency.com is looking to remedy that through launching the “Bitmex of stocks,” a crypto-friendly platform that promises high leverage and low barriers for entry.
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Currency.com Launches With 150 Tokenized Assets and Another 10,000 to Come
In mid-January, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Currency.com, a Belarus-based trading platform for tokenized securities. Unlike other platforms of this nature, Currency.com promises entry to retail investors and a marketplace of readily tradable assets from day one. What’s more, these comprise globally recognizable assets such as Microsoft stock, gas, oil, and the Nasdaq 100. The platform is now live in invite-only mode, with around 1,000 traders putting it through its paces. Another 113,000 and counting are on the waiting list.
This week, news.Bitcoin.com spoke to Currency.com CEO Ivan Gowan to learn more about the interest the exchange has received, and the regulatory logistics of launching such an operation from Belarus. Gowan explained how much of that interest has come from the English and Russian speaking worlds, with 70 percent of those on the waiting list hailing from Eastern Europe. Western Europe, Japan, and Korea account for the remaining regions that have shown strong interest in the exchange. U.S. citizens, however, are unable to sign up at this time.
“I think there’s a lot of excitement where people see this kind of merging of cryptocurrencies, blockchain and capital markets and they see tokenized assets as a big part of that future,” began Gowan. “We’re not setting ourselves up to be focused on the institutional market – we’re focused on people who want to trade with us directly, people who value simplicity and ease of use.”
Institutional Assets for a Retail Audience
The ease of use that Ivan Gowan speaks of is evident when accessing the exchange. While professional traders might balk at its simplicity, it has clearly been designed with a retail audience in mind, introducing them to a world of tokenized assets while retaining the familiarity of the crypto exchanges they’re accustomed to trading on.
For traders raised on the volatile thrills of the crypto markets, stocks, which typically move no more than a couple of points a day, can seem dull. Currency.com has found a way to inject some fun into these tranquil “nocoiner” markets by adding leverage. “On the one side, you’ve got the more deliverable side of tokenized assets without leverage,” explained Gowan, “and then on the other side, you can use your cryptocurrencies as collateral for trading with leverage.”
With 20x margin trading available for equities, and up to 100x for other assets, even the slightest movements can generate major wins – or losses – for traders. While it is the responsibility of traders not to get carried away in this marketplace of maximum leverage and multiple possibilities, there are at least some general safeguards built in.
“If you run low on margin, the client protection systems kick in so you don’t go into debt,” explained Gowan.” Because Currency.com purchases the underlying assets or their derivatives, there are limitations on the extent to which traders can get rekt. “If you did have a trade open on Facebook and it dropped by 10 percent overnight because they missed an earnings call, say, then we would take on some of that risk, and we would give negative balance protection.”
Proactive Regulation From the Belarusian Government
CEO Ivan Gowan divides his time between London and Belarus, where Currency.com has a large technical team operating out of the country’s High Technology Park. He speaks warmly of the “innovative legislation” that’s been created to incubate cryptocurrencies and blockchain in Belarus in a bid to drive economic growth, and of the quality talent pool that includes highly proficient programmers with a strong work ethic.
Although getting regulated in the U.S. is on Currency.com’s long-term roadmap, there are significant hurdles that must be overcome to gain SEC approval. In the meantime, there is work to be done onboarding the tens of thousands of users on the waiting list. Once through the exchange’s virtual doors, they will be free to deposit funds with BTC or ETH, as well as fiat currency, and there are plans for other crypto assets to be added in future including BCH and LTC. There will also be a mobile app rolled out in February. The gulf between the traditional finance and cryptocurrency worlds is gradually narrowing. Currency.com may be one of the first crypto exchanges to provide a bridge, but it is unlikely to be the last.
What are your thoughts on tokenized securities? Would you trade stocks and metals using a platform like Currency.com? Let us know in the comments section below.
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