If 2017 was the year that crypto burst into the mainstream consciousness with the biggest of bangs, then 2018 could be viewed as the year it imploded. Falling valuations across various cryptocurrencies over the course of the year has led to plenty of scepticism about crypto’s long-term viability, but that hasn’t stopped some of the leading institutions in the capital markets pushing ahead with their crypto plans.
The buy-side may be keeping their crypto strategies largely under wraps for now, but Fidelity Investments was not one of them, announcing in October that it is set to launch a new company for the custody and trade execution of digital assets, appropriately named Fidelity Digital Assets.
It was not the only firm to focus on crypto custody this year, with Nomura beating the competition to the punch through the launch of its custody bank offering in May this year that aims to bring infrastructure and an operational framework for the wider investment manager industry. Northern Trust has also revealed it is exploring ways to hold and secure digital assets and cryptocurrencies for its hedge fund clients.
Elsewhere, SIX unveiled plans to launch a fully integrated trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets, which is currently set to launch next year. Jos Dijsselhof, CEO at SIX< spoke to The TRADE in more detail about the project and why he believes it could be a game-changer for the industry.
There have also been no shortage of industry executives making the jump to the good ship crypto this year, with LSEG veteran David Lester joining London-based cryptocurrency exchange Archax, and Nomura’s former global eFX trading head, Ed Mount, joining crypto brokerage and trading firm CRYPTALGO.
Whatever the coming year holds for the fortunes of cryptocurrencies, there should be little doubt about the capital market’s interest in this space. In July, advisory and research firm Aite Group forecast that the total trading value of cryptocurrencies will top $1 trillion in 2018.
Last but by no means least, there was the biggest news of all for the crypto markets in 2018: The launch of The TRADE Crypto, a new website which covers issues news on market infrastructure, regulation, volatility, custody, liquidity, safeguarding, new products, trading venues and more, as the leading source of information for cryptocurrencies and their place in the capital markets.