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Former Jefferies FX brokers launching institutional crypto exchange

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Two former Jefferies Financial Group executives are set to launch a new cryptocurrency exchange designed for institutional investors. 

Named Crossover Markets Group Inc. the exchange is set to debut in “late summer to early fall” following the closure of a recent seed funding round.

The Crossover Markets’ website describes the new exchange as a “digital asset exchange designed to meet the liquidity needs of institutional clients.”

Jefferies is the largest independent full-service investment banking firm headquartered in the U.S. and is the seventh largest investment bank in the world by revenue, according to Dealogic. 

The exchange will be led by co-founder and CEO Brandon Mulvihill, who previously manned the helm of Jefferies foreign exchange prime brokerage business. The other co-founder of the exchange is CCO Anthony Mazzarese, a long-time business partner of Mulvihill. They will also be joined by technologist Vlad Rysin, the former chief technology officer of Euronext FX, a trading services company.

The new exchange will focus on offering improved technology that speeds up cryptocurrency trading and reduces latency to the standards expected in traditional FX or equities by institutional investors. Mazzarese says this is often lacking in retail focused exchanges:

“There seems to be a notion that latency doesn’t matter when it comes to trading crypto. We disagree.”

“We polled our network of institutional relationships globally and one of the biggest and most common requirements was reliable 24/7 technology with the same service levels and customization features they are accustomed to in other markets such as FX or equities. This exactly what Crossover Markets will provide.”

Mulvihill said that while the vast majority of traditional institutional investors have not yet entered into the crypto space, this is rapidly changing, and he stressed the need for exchanges to advance technology in line with market maturity. 

Related: Crypto gains trust as investment, but still lags behind other options: Bitstamp report

On Tuesday, global crypto exchange Bitstamp released a survey report which found that the majority of the 28,615 institutional and retail investors survey respondents believe crypto will overtake traditional investment vehicles within a decade. As much as 80% of institutional respondents answered in the affirmative.

Though the two executives left Jefferies in March to set up this new exchange, Jefferies itself has been expanding its crypto services business under the leadership of Alexander Yavorsky, the firm’s managing director of Financial Institutions Group (FIG) Investment Banking. Yavorsky said the company is exploring crypto services in trading, prime brokerage, and wealth management.

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