Pan-Asian bitcoin exchange Quoine announced today it has closed a $2m angel funding round, involving a number of investors and private funds.
The firm's CEO Mario Gomez-Lozada told CoinDesk that the investors, who have chosen to remain publicly unnamed for now, include "hedge funds principals, major payment aggregators and top FX traders in Japan", along with executives of financial institutions.
Quoine plans to use the additional funds on product development and global expansion.
Quiet growth so far
Quoine's management team explained that the company has operated in "stealth mode" since opening in June, with a fairly basic trading interface aimed primarily at mobile device users.
The Singapore-registered exchange initially targeted the Japanese market and, as the country's first open-order book exchange since the demise of Mt Gox, quickly became its largest bitcoin exchange in terms of volume.
Japan is still by far Quoine's biggest market, though its English-language version targets professional traders in Asian financial centers like Singapore.
The firm also recently launched an Indonesian site, hoping to tap into the potential of the world's fourth-largest country with its population of 252.1 million and second fastest-growing economy in the G20 after China.
Trading is currently available in JPY, SGD, USD, EUR, Indonesian rupiah (IDR) and AUD, while bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency offered.
New trading features
At the same time as its funding announcement, Quoine also officially announced its new margin trading and lending system, and an updated user interface.
Users are able to trade with up to 25% leverage, while non-traders may lend their own stored bitcoins to margin traders at interest rates they choose themselves.
The firm's API is available for outside developers to access, and the new trading dashboard will look more familiar to desktop users than the previous mobile-oriented site.
Quoine's 'matching engine' technology "has been stress-tested and is capable of providing one million transactions per second of raw power", Gomez-Lozada said. This puts the speed on par with traditional financial exchanges for stocks and forex.
"In terms of technology capacity and feature set, we are well ahead of any bitcoin exchange globally by a very significant stretch."
Built by finance professionals
In a scenario that would no doubt please FirstMark Capital managing director Lawrence Lenihan, Quoine's exchange was built from scratch by a group of former banking professionals with decades of combined experience in relevant FinTech fields such as trading systems, low latency, pricing and risk management.
The team includes two former C-level IT executives and top developers from major banks such as Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Standard Chartered and Citi.
Quoine's fee structure charges 0.5% per trade for market 'takers' who buy and sell at the current market price, and no fees for any traders who sets their own preferred price (market 'makers').
Quoine currently offers connections to local banks for deposits and withdrawals in Japan, Singapore and Indonesia. Its next expansion is planned to bring banking services to Hong Kong, Australia, Philippines, India and Europe.
Gomez-Lozada described the next expansion drive as "aggressive".
"So far our focus has been on perfecting our services in Japan. Now we have a very solid product and we will kick off a massive global expansion."
Also on Quoine's agenda over the coming weeks is the launch of derivatives trading, starting with a futures platform that has already been undergoing tests for "some time". There are additional plans to add support for options trading and other derivatives at some point in the future.