DMALINK and DeFinity Markets’ Manu Choudhary talks EM FX, digital assets, and algo AIs

FinanceFeeds Editorial Team

Manu Choudhary attended TradeTech FX USA 2023 as DMALINK enjoys the rise in popularity of EM FX and DeFinity Markets prepares a world’s first solution for TradFi in the digital asset space.

North America’s biggest FX gathering of the year took place on February 22-24 at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Florida, USA.

More than 600 executives – including key regulators, buy-side, sell-side, and technology vendors – attended the conference this year for the panel discussions, hands-on workshops, and to network.

FinanceFeeds was there covering the event. Editor-in-Chief Nikolai Isayev had the opportunity for a quick chat with Manu Choudhary, CEO at DMALink and Co-Founder at DeFinity Markets.

DMALINK is a renowned independent electronic price discovery and execution venue for professional FX traders streaming anonymous, proactively tailored and sustainable pricing with particular focus on non G-7 pairs.

DeFinity Markets is a data centric institutional digital asset ECN, created to address the governance and conduct issues raised by regulators. The firm aggregates quotes from market makers on which qualified clients can transact digital assets.

Manu Choudhary’s FX career started at XE.com, and includes jobs at Barclays Investment Bank and Lloyds Bank, where he was Director of FX Sales by the time he joined DMALINK as CEO, in 2019.

In 2020, he co-founded DeFinity Markets and became Non-Executive Director of Axyon AI, a developer of disruptive algo AI capabilities for both DMALINK and DeFinitive Markets, which he talked about during the interview.

EM FX demand set to increase regardless of volatility

Regarding the main themes in the world of trading, Manu Choudhary pointed to the evolution of the digital asset space and its onboarding of TradFi. There is also a lot of scope in discussion around volatility: how to manage, deal, and predict it.

Questioned about how increased volatility is making EM FX more attractive than ever, Choudhary admitted that “certainly volatility is interesting, not necessarily good for those locations, but absolutely good for business”.

Emerging Markets, defined as “one from which you can’t emerge from in a crisis”, are set to dominate the world in the next five to ten years, from a population perspective and interest in EM FX will only increase regardless of volatility. Even after speculative demand subsides, he said, investor demand is expected to grow exponentially because emerging markets are a very attractive part of the world.

As a provider of trading technology and liquidity solutions, DMALINK offers anonymous access to global EM liquidity with big-data and an ultra-low latency ecosystem. Its liquidity engine for EM FX was built after spending “a lot of time sourcing local liquidity on both sides. We’ve managed to get ourselves in a position where we do offer some very good pricing in the EM crosses”.

After a trial run in 2022, DMALINK has recently signed up to the FX Global Code, “a quite compelling force to push people in the right direction” as he observed that “unless they sign up, they have really fragile liquidity”. The movement led by the Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC) is seeing buyside, sellside, and vendors, working together to form a benchmark of healthy and sustainable eFX execution practices and DMALINK plays a critical role, particularly in the non G-7 space.

DMALINK and DeFinity Markets building 1st Gen of AI Algos

FinanceFeeds’ Nikolai Isayev then asked about the partnership with Axyon AI which provides machine learning-based predictive algorithms for forex trading. “Probably the smartest people when it comes to artificial intelligence. We’re fortunate to have a good relationship with them”, Choudhary said as he explained the goal is to build an AI engine that powers the algo technology for Crypto and FX.

“We’re building the 1st generation of AI algos. The difference is that with regular algos, when the dynamics of the market change, they become less efficient. AI algos adapt to the markets. If the markets changes, so the parameters of the algo. It is a huge step forward for the algo industry, certainly in FX but also in crypto.”

About DeFinity Markets, a data centric institutional digital asset ECN, the firm provides an unusual way of intermediating credits, Choudhary commented, although he was unwilling to go into detail about that topic as they are still working on the solution which is designed to replicate TradFi from a perspective of infrastructure, consistency, and settlement.

DeFinity Markets’ goal is to “remedy a lot of the headaches in digital assets”, a space that remains immature, with no standardization. Its “innovative solution, the first in the world to do this” separates custody from trade execution in order to make it easier for TradFI businesses to access digital assets in a safe, secure way.

As to the “innovative credit solution to mitigate counterparty risk” he said he can’t talk too much but it is a “game changer” that will “open the gates to a demographic of counterparties that have a huge amount of demand and are unable to face unregistered counterparties like exchanges, which we fully understand. We would never suggest it is a good idea.”

Synthetic CBDCs as the future in banking

The interview also included the topic of CBDCs, as the executive spoke at the Securities Services Advisory Group conference in London about the matter. DMALINK’s Choudhary praised wholesale CBDCs, which remedy a series of problematic issues, but believes that retail CBDC solve problems that don’t exist in the UK and Europe, where the banking infrastructure is highly developed. In India, however, retail CBDCs “would be phenomenal”, he admitted.

Manu Choudhary offered a “better idea” for CBDCs. commercial banks issue stablecoins that are collateralized with assets held at central banks, i.e. synthetic CBDC. This idea is probably going to be seen in Europe in the six months, he added.

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