Trading Firm Susquehanna Plots Bahamas Crypto Expansion: Sources

Call it the "SBF Effect": Crypto traders and market makers are opening outposts on FTX's home island en masse.

AccessTimeIconJul 22, 2022 at 7:51 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:38 p.m. UTC
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Quantitative trading giant Susquehanna International Group plans to open an office in the Bahamas, joining a rush of cryptocurrency trading shops wooed by the island nation’s industry-friendly policies, two people familiar with the plan said.

Based just outside Philadelphia and with offices worldwide, Susquehanna is a major liquidity provider for global traditional financial markets. It has a sizable presence in crypto, too: The firm makes markets on centralized crypto exchanges and has discussed doing so for decentralized finance (DeFi) derivatives platforms, a source at one prospective counterparty told CoinDesk.

Susquehanna didn't respond to requests for comment.

The planned expansion comes as a growing list of crypto players stake their offshore claim 150 miles east of Miami in an island nation where the crypto regulations are friendly and corporate taxes zilch. FTX Digital Markets, the derivatives powerhouse founded by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, sparked the relocation trend with its high-profile move to the Bahamas from Hong Kong.

Temptation island

Bahamian officials have campaigned for the industry’s business with open arms. The island is ready to be “a home for global leaders" in the crypto space, Prime Minister Philip Davis said at the SALT conference in the Bahamas in May, where Bart Smith, Susquehanna’s crypto lead, also spoke.

While plenty of Caribbean islands have long courted international financiers, the Bahamas’ push for crypto regulation seen as favorable to the industry has made it a recent favorite – especially among the U.S. expatriate community, industry observers said.

“Major players in the crypto industry look for regulatory certainty and a stable framework to conduct their business operations,” Nicola Massella, head of legal for crypto consultancy Storm Partners, said. Creating some of the “most advanced and comprehensive” crypto legal frameworks in the world has made the Bahamas an industry hotbed.

The effort is paying off, one Bahamian crypto banker told CoinDesk.

“Lots of market makers and traders are moving here,” the banker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said. “It’s a hot commodity.”

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Danny Nelson

Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.


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