Michael Oved helped Virtu Financial Inc. become the most consistently profitable market maker in the history of electronic trading. Now he has his sights set on revolutionizing how digital currency exchanges operate.
The new company he cofounded, AirSwap, sounds like a contradiction in terms: A decentralized exchange. Made possible by the nascent technology of the ethereum blockchain, there’s no central authority around which buyers and sellers gather. Instead, a computer program known as a smart contract lets investors find each other anywhere in the world to trade cryptocurrencies. There are no user accounts and identities are hidden as trading is solely on a peer-to-peer basis.
The idea goes to the heart of what many blockchain supporters want to accomplish: eliminating middlemen in industries from finance to real estate to health care. It also makes digital currencies immune to recent efforts to control their trading by governments such as China, which is closing cryptocurrency exchanges within its borders.
AirSwap wants to attract large institutional traders such as DRW Holdings LLC and DV Chain to buy and sell cryptocurrencies on an exchange. Oved’s target is the estimated 60 percent to 80 percent of cryptocurrency trading that now occurs in the over-the-counter market.
Most cryptocurrencies traded sharply higher on Wednesday, following recent news that U.S. and Japanese regulators are getting serious about writing the rules for the cryptocurrency markets. Bitcoin prices held above the $4,000-mark, close to 30% above the recent low.
On Sept 25, 2017, the SEC announced the creation of a Cyber Unit that will focus on targeting cyber-related misconduct and the establishment of a retail strategy task force that will implement initiatives that directly affect retail investors reflect SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s priorities in these important areas.