Chicago and Singapore are two cities that are becoming synonymous with bitcoin. The Windy City is home to CME and DRW, two major financial firms that are capitalizing on the rise of bitcoin, while Singapore is embracing all things crypto. The news that DRW is poised to open a Singapore trading shop for bitcoin thus makes perfect sense in a move that will enable DRW to ramp up its Asian operations and attract major clients.
A Match Made in Heaven?
The head of Singapore’s Monetary Authority recently announced that the city-state had no intention of regulating cryptocurrencies and welcomed the growth in demand for bitcoin. In settling on a location for its new Asian trading base, Singapore was a natural choice for DRW. The Chicago trading firm is no newcomer to bitcoin, having been in the game since 2014, when its Cumberland Mining subsidiary began bitcoin trading.
DRW have previously demonstrated their savviness when it comes to bitcoin, snapping up 27,000 of Ross Ulbricht’s seized bitcoins for $7.6 million in 2015 for a price that now looks like a bargain. Speaking to Business Insider, Cumberland Mining head Bobby Cho spoke of the impending Asian expansion, stating:
Asia is a big opportunity for us. We dominate the market in the US and we are trying to bring that liquidity to Asia where there is tons of activity.
Hunting for Whales
DRW’s primary clients are bitcoin whales – those investors capable of dropping millions of dollars on a single trade. While trades of between $1 million and $5 million are the norm for DRW, the firm has also handled major trades of between $20 and $50 million. Another interesting tidbit to emerge from Cho’s chat with Business Insider is where he sees the Chinese market going. As the Chinese government has clamped down on exchanges, investors have been forced to look overseas, with Japan and Singapore the prime beneficiaries.
“China has always been a grey box with a lot of things,” said Cho. “So I don’t look at the opportunity as specifically trying to capture China. We want to provide institutional-grade liquidity to the world, regardless of where you are located.”
With its high proportion of monied investors and enthusiasm for emerging technology, the Asian market is ripe for trading firms seeking to catch the bitcoin wave that’s sent the currency scuttling above $7,000 once more. For DRW and its aspiring Asian clients, the arrival of the firm’s Singapore trading desk can’t come soon enough.
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