What Was The Event?

The Battle of the Cryptos (a client project) took place at the University Club in New York City on Oct. 16th, 2018.  The event was for Crypto hedge funds, investors in those funds, and Blockchain ICO’s and token offerings.

What Was It About?

The Battle of the Cryptos curated leading discussions from Blockchain to Cryptocurrencies within financial markets. Careful consideration has been given to include issues confronting investors and traders participating in this complex and new space. Attendees included investors (HNWI, Family Offices, FoF’s, VC’s and Institutional Investors) and Blockchain ICO’s, Cryptocurrencies and Crypto Hedge Funds. The Agenda started with Capital Introduction Breakfasts and continued with presentations, panel discussions, coffee breaks and an end of day cocktail reception. Throughout the day, one-on-one pre-scheduled and impromptu meetings took place. After twelve years of hosting the leading quantitative event worldwide, The Battle of the Cryptos is destined to become the definitive event for investors and managers looking for key industry influencers, decision makers and investment opportunities in the crypto world.

Who Was There?

A sampling of types of people in attendance:

  • Crypto investors
  • Crypto funds
  • Fund of funds
  • Portfolio managers
  • Market makers
  • Crypto exchanges
  • Crypto educators
  • Data & technology providers
  • Blockchain enthusiasts

It was a full house at the University Club.

Quick Hits

The full event agenda is here.  These items stood out:

Hype & Reality

Discussions covered the spectacular rise and fall of cryptocurrency prices; and the similar rise and fall of the ICO scene.

My take: are we in the Gartner Hype Cycles “Trough of Disillusionment”?  That would mean the next phase we should expect is the “Slope of Enlightenment”…

The Future

So what should be on that slope?  The event touched on these:

  • Stable coins (not so stable… yet)
  • Security tokens – the discussion here continued the momentum from the Security Token Academy‘s Security Token Industry Launch Event, into the “Tokenization of Everything”
  • The blockchain / digital asset community is re-inventing the financial industry


My take on that last point, the re-invention of the financial industry:

Some innovations seem truly new and different, and are so on purpose, such as the use of blockchain to generate smart contracts w/ built-in KYC.

Some innovations seem new and different, when viewed from within the new context of the crypto market.  Many of its participants aren’t from the traditional electronically traded markets.  It’s always great to bring fresh perspective to an old problem, and solve it in a better way.  But for people “from the street”, some innovations are familiar at a high level, such as:

  • Multiple liquidity pools
  • Liquidity aggregators
  • Smart order routers
  • Direct market access gateways
  • Algorithmic trading platforms
  • Liquidity provision via proprietary market making firms (dare I say …HFT?).

Have we not seen all of this before, or at least similar, in Equities, FX, Futures and Options, Fixed Income.  Some firms are bringing their expertise to the crypto market from having participated in other asset classes before.  Others are starting from scratch; the result may be a better way to do what we’ve done before, or re-inventing the wheel.

Crypto trading criticisms I hear – lack of regulation, some bad actors among the good, lack of security, boom/bust cycles – can make the industry seem like a “wild west.”   The recent price collapse emphasizes the point.  But, other asset classes started out this way and matured.  So if crypto trading and investing are following the same patterns, we would do well to learn the lessons the traditional financial markets have learned from having solved similar problems before.

One final thought:   We know the blockchain provides a distributed ledger; but do we really not need central clearing in crypto as a risk management function?