Former Virtu Trader Plans Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchange

Nikhilesh De
Sep 28, 2017 at 16:15 UTC
Updated Sep 28, 2017 at 22:09 UTC

A former trader at the high frequency trading (HFT) firm Virtu Financial is launching a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange.

In an interview with Bloomberg Markets, Michael Oved detailed his plans for AirSwap, one of a growing number of projects that seek to use the ethereum blockchain as a means to connect buyers and sellers directly. Oved says he hopes to draw in institutional investors, who would, through AirSwap, trade tokens through the use of smart contracts.

“There is no central exchange hub or clearinghouse, the transactions are negotiated peer-to-peer and then the swap is executed and cleared on the ethereum blockchain,” he told the publication in an interview.

The idea of using blockchain as a peer-to-peer trading infrastructure has gained traction in recent months, showcased in part by the $24 million initial coin offering (ICO) for 0x. Proponents say that decentralized exchanges avoid some of the pitfalls for more centralized options, including the risk of fraud and cyberattack.

In the interview, Oved pointed to those perceived benefits, including the resiliency created through direct trades between two parties.

“It’s impossible to shut down, and you don’t even need an account,” Oved told Bloomberg. “People won’t even know Chinese traders are on the system.”

Founded in 2008, Virtu gained notoriety for the success of its high-speed trading operations. It was reported in April that Virtu would buy HFT rival KCG Holdings in a deal valued at $1.4 billion.

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