Huobi US Affiliate Launches Institutional Group for OTC Crypto Trading

The U.S. affiliate of the Huobi Global crypto exchange is courting big-money investors with a new institutional team.

AccessTimeIconMar 27, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:01 a.m. UTC

The U.S. affiliate of the Huobi Global crypto trading marketplace is courting big-money investors with the introduction of a new institutional team.

Announced today, the new group at HBUS will be headed up by Katelyn Mew, a veteran of asset management powerhouse BlackRock and discount brokerage Charles Schwab, and Oren Blonstein, who comes from fintech provider Tora Trading Services.

"We set up a new institutional sales and customer service group just to have some focus and resources on this segment of the market where we see a lot of the growth coming from," Blonstein told CoinDesk.

"We’re entering the market now with a real institutional offering, we’re definitely going to be offering some new products and services," such as token lending and over-the-counter (OTC) trading, in the coming months, he added.

According to a press release, HBUS may even look at launching a stablecoin (though no details were provided).

In a statement, Mew, a vice president of sales and marketing at HBUS, said the company would offer "sophisticated trading systems and a trusted marketplace."

"Unfortunately, the current landscape is significantly behind the traditional financial services industry. As more and more institutions integrate digital assets into their portfolios, they’ll need trusted, secure and compliant partners, such as," she added.

While Blonstein did not provide any names, he said some clients are already onboarding.


Blonstein, a vice president of technology at HBUS, said one of his firm's main draws is its connection to traders outside the U.S. Its namesake company, based in Singapore, is the world's fourth-largest exchange by 24-hour volume (when adjusted to exclude distortive activities such as no-fee trading), according to CoinMarketCap.

"If you’re a U.S.-based fund, so are now or in the future could be regulated by a U.S. regulator, it’s important that you’re working with another compliant institution," Blonstein said. "So if you’re in the U.S. [but] if you want to access to liquidity outside the U.S. ... you need to do that through a U.S. platform."

Based in San Francisco, HBUS has money transmission licenses in various states, with petitions out to those jurisdictions it still needs a license in. It is also registered as a money services business (MSB) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Treasury.

At some point, HBUS will even seek a BitLicense through the New York Department of Financial Services.

HBUS' new group is the latest entrant to the crypto space to court institutional investors. In recent weeks, firms ranging from mutual fund heavyweight Fidelity to crypto-native startup LGO Markets have begun onboarding or talking to customers, while established firms like Seed CX continue to roll out new products.

UPDATE (March 28, 15:30 UTC): The headline and a passage in this have been updated to clarify the relationship between HBUS and Huobi. The U.S. operation is not a subsidiary of the Singapore company, it just licenses the name, according to Kaitlin Starcher, a spokesperson for the firm.

HBUS image courtesy HBUS


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