FX industry veteran Stephen Leahy appointed VP Crypto Products at Shift Forex
“BTC, ETH and a few other digital assets will stick around; ICO’s will work as crowdfunding tangible projects, but not as fake currencies for fantasy business ideas” – Stephen Leahy
This week, one of North America’s most recognized and experienced professionals whose career in the FX industry extends across a number of cornerstones that built the business as we know it has embarked upon his next executive position.
In the 1990s, a series of thought leaders worked closely in Boston, Massachusetts, forming many components of the infrastructure that now underpins the global electronic trading industry, emanating from the region in which the greatest concentration of highly educated people reside.
Stephen Leahy is an industry figure who knows the Boston-based entities very well indeed, having been a Senior Dealer at IFX Markets for four years from 2002 to 2006, before becoming CFO of FX clearing firm United Global Markets Group, which led to his four year tenure at Back Bay FX.
After leaving Back Bay FX in 2010, Mr. Leahy was a Founder and Managing Member at CMAP (Capital Market Access Partners), where he remained for three years before becoming Head of Business Development at oneZero.
Following a senior executive position at FXPRIMUS in which he was COO from March 2015 to March 2016, Mr Leahy began to prepare for his next endeavor.
Today, FinanceFeeds has discovered that Mr Leahy has been appointed VP Crypto Products at New York based FX industry professional services consultancy Shift Forex, further developing the company’s current majoring on new technological developments in the electronic trading sector.
Mr Leahy has engaged in conversation on various occasions with FinanceFeeds, outlining his perspective on where crypto currency and the technological development that hosts and provides it, stands within the FX industry and the global FinTech arena in a wider scope.
“I spent the summer learning about blockchain technology and digital assets” said Mr Leahy during a recent conversation with FinanceFeeds in London.
“You and I have different views on blockchain-enabled digital assets but the same view of those who are using the terminology to perpetrate non-genuine schemes, including binary option people, and ICO fraudsters which are 95% of iCO’s” he said.
“BTC, ETH and a few other digital assets will stick around; ICO’s will work as crowdfunding tangible projects, but not as fake currencies for fantasy business ideas, and the big take away is that the next generation of the internet will allow protocol developers to make the gobs of money that the application developers such as Facebook and Google. made last time around” said Mr Leahy.
This certainly echoes FinanceFeeds’ line of thinking, especially given the differntiation that is required between today’s proliferation of ICO fraudsters and institutional R&D by consultancies including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and major banks including Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, who have invested tens of millions of dollars into the research on how to implement blockchain-based distributed ledger technology as part of large scale financial infrastructure at Tier 1 bank level.
In 2015, FinanceFeeds discussed diversification of asset class and trading experience with Mr Leahy during a meeting in Massachusetts.
At that time, Mr Leahy raised a very interesting point in that traditionally, at the outset of retail FX trading many companies in North America particularly had proprietary platforms and this by its own nature made customers stay.
“Nowadays, all companies are selling majors and using MT4 all over the world, however as a result of that there is a need to differentiate, otherwise there is a severe difficulty in value proposition. It has become a marketing war. I learned when at Back Bay FX, that selling MT4 means that customers can go up and go elsewhere.”
“I firmly believe that as a brokerage you need the technology to be seperate from the liquidity provider. If they are one and the same, you have no visibility as to what happens behind the system. If the technology and liquidity provider are seperate entities, they act as checks and balances between each other.”
Mr. Leahy researched platform popularity, and drew an interesting conclusion. “I checked Google Analytics and it seems that traders in Scandinavian countries as well as in Indonesia are searching in Google for MT5. Until recently it has only been popular in Russia.”
With Shift Forex expanding its scope into this sector, the appointment of an astute professional of this caliber will stand the firm in good stead.
Featured Image: USS Constitution’s home territory, Boston, Massachusetts. Copyright FinanceFeeds