Ex-Genesis CEO Michael Moro to Head Crypto Derivatives Exchange Startup

Ankex, a non-custodial exchange with a centralized order book, is being spun out of crypto custody firm Qredo, which Moro joined in January.

AccessTimeIconJun 29, 2023 at 10:21 a.m. UTC
Updated Jul 5, 2023 at 3:16 p.m. UTC

Michael Moro, the former CEO of Genesis Trading, is taking the helm of a new cryptocurrency derivatives exchange called Ankex, which was incubated within crypto custody tech firm Qredo.

Ankex, which enters alpha testing this week, will begin with perpetual futures contracts in markets outside the U.S. The platform will allow users to keep custody of their assets in a decentralized manner while providing elements familiar to professional traders such as a central limit order book.

Following the collapse of FTX and other centralized crypto-trading platforms, a knee-jerk reaction was to espouse the benefits of decentralized finance (DeFi). But the trading experience in DeFi is not ideal for many institutions, who are used to a low latency, high speed matching environment, Moro said.

“The old model of custody, trading and settlement all in a box is done, but people are used to the central limit order book, fast matching and all of that stuff that offers a better trading experience,” Moro said in an interview with CoinDesk. “So we started building a really fast matching engine that’s off chain, in order to marry that with Qredo’s on-chain custody in terms of MPC [multi-party computation] technology, and get the best of both worlds.”

Moro pointed out that Ankex is a separate company from Qredo and after three months of alpha testing, the exchange will add Metamask and Fireblocks so any non-custodial wallet will be able to plug in and trade.

Ankex, which has some 17,000 users waiting to test it, is in the process becoming registered and licensed in the British Virgin Islands, Moro said. It also plans to become regulated in the U.A.E. and Dubai, he said.

In the alpha stage, Ankex will handle plain vanilla perpetual futures to begin with, and only three different contracts: bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and Binance coin (BNB). USDC will be the only acceptable collateral during testing, Moro said.

“In terms of leverage, we don’t want this to turn into a full blown leverage casino. So for Bitcoin, the max leverage we are offering is 20x, and then for ETH and BNB, just 10x,” said Moro. “But of course, if we only traded bitcoin, ETH and BNB, then, frankly, that is a boring exchange. We will also have to offer derivatives on tokens that are less common and lower in the market cap table.”

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Ian Allison

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.