IFX EXPO Dubai 2022: ION TradAir goes Crypto with White Label trading solution

Rick Steves

Finance Feeds was at iFX EXPO Dubai 2022, one of the most popular finance and fintech B2B conferences in the world.

intro dubai

The event, which took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 22-24 February 2022, brought together FX industry leaders from across the globe looking to engage with their peers, grow their business, and have fun.

Not only was there an incredible speaker lineup, but also in-depth public discussions between industry leaders and thousands of visitors.

As such, the event is where brokers go for more opportunities to grow their business, check on technology providers, spot the trends in the financial technology and digital asset industry, amongst others.

On that note, Finance Feeds had the chance to set up an interview with Brian Liedberg and Paul Spillman from ION TradAir, a leading solution for institutional FX and crypto trading for banks and brokers.

Liedberg, who is the Chief Business Officer, is an accomplished industry veteran with prior senior roles at US Bank, Thomson Reuters and EBS, and Integral. Spillman, who is European Head of Sales, has previously worked at Marex, Gain GTX, ITI Capital, and Barclays.

TradAir’s White Label trading solution marked ION’s first move into cryptocurrency. What can you tell us about the service?

Paul Spillman: With the increasing levels of activity across foreign exchange markets, especially within alternatives, our customers need solutions that can efficiently aggregate liquidity (source pricing from exchanges, brokers and OTC desks).

They also need a price engine that can create bespoke pricing that can be distributed into third-party platforms, exchanges and APIs – at pace. White Label, our end-to-end front office trading solution, does just this and a lot more. It is a fully automated and integrated platform that gives our customers complete control to manage pre-trade risks, liquidity and leverage.

Additionally, White Label ensures all exchanges and OTC desks are FIX ready, both from a price making and price taking perspective, ensuring firms can deliver unique solutions even during periods of extreme market volatility.

The use of multi-crypto fiat pairs is what really makes our solution, and ION, stand out within this competitive market. This full customisable technology allows firms to deliver unique liquidity construction, including synthetic NDF crosses, which preserve their brand identity. This means our customers are able to incorporate their own colours, logos and distinctive flair into their offering, allowing them to differentiate themselves from their peers and retain a competitive edge in the industry.

We have recently covered your partnership with BlockQuake for its crypto liquidity. What benefits do this, and other partnerships bring to the foreign exchange industry?

Brian Liedberg: ION is constantly seeking new ways to help our customers stay ahead of the curve and insulate themselves from the various challenges affecting the FX industry at the moment. However, innovation alone is sometimes not the most time or cost-effective way to solve these problems. As such, we believe in collaborating with our peers for the benefit of our combined customers.

Our recent partnership with BlockQuake is a great example of the positive impact such collaborations have. The combination of our liquidity integration technology and BlockQuake’s extensive crypto and digital asset exchange allows banks and brokers to facilitate the fiat side of crypto trading more easily – which for many is the first point of entry into the world of digital assets.

Not only does this provide traders across the industry with access to a wider selection of assets – which will undoubtedly drive a greater adoption of currencies – but it will also deepen liquidity pools, allowing the successful execution of trades, no matter the size. As we continue to innovate for the industry, we also look forward to partnering with those that complement our offerings to create mutually advantageous solutions for all FX traders.

Liquidity has become the top keyword within the FX industry, but how can brokers make sure they are hiring a reliable solution for liquidity?

Paul Spillman: The importance of liquidity in the FX market cannot be overstressed. Access to greater liquidity not only enables an easier transaction flow, but also makes pricing more competitive. Whilst most brokers require tight spreads, we have found that the depth and stability of liquidity is more important. There is simply no point having a choice price when only half of the trade can be executed, or a trader loses connection eight out of 10 times. This is even more important for traders dealing with cryptocurrencies, which are much more volatile and unpredictable than the traditional forex industry.

This is where ION TradAir steps in. Our TAI technology is an anonymous spot FX liquidity solution which consists of Tierl banks, brokers and non-bank liquidity. Through an ongoing partnership with our prime broker, we provide our customers with tight spreads which will be at the top of most books, alongside a depth of market which will enable their clients to execute their full position in one swift and seamless trade. When you combine that with the near 100 per cent fill ratios provided by our market-leading graphical user interface (GUI), you have a product which not only provides stability, but also fills firms with the confidence that they are seeing the best pricing with the best liquidity.

Overall, brokers must hire liquidity providers that adopt innovative technologies, such as those we provide at TradAir. This is the only way to ensure transactions occur in an uninterrupted manner, and that traders are protected from the ongoing fluctuations within the market.

What industry trends do you expect to see over the next year?

Brian Liedberg: The most important trend to keep an eye on is regulation – this is key to everything and will impact the way both traditional and digital currencies are traded. Amid rising inflation rates and economic uncertainty, central banks across the world are tightening their regulations, especially in relation to cryptocurrencies, which is a volatile asset class. While these are developed in the investors’ best interest, traders and institutions should be prepared to adapt quickly.

Paul Spillman: Indeed, you cannot ignore the way in which crypto has skyrocketed over the past year – in 2021 alone this market experienced an injection of $17 billion worth of institutional capital, and this trend seems set to continue over 2022. The effects of this will be felt across the FX industry, and institutional investors will need to think creatively about managing the increasing volumes alongside market volatility. Despite the challenges, perhaps not this year, but in the near future I do believe that through improvements to the monitoring and management of crypto, digital currencies will become the norm.

Brian Liedberg: You also can’t ignore the increasing popularity of other digital assets, such as the metaverse and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Although the long-term use of such assets is still developing, it’s important to monitor, especially if such assets are to be combined with other emerging technologies such as blockchain smart contracts. If digital assets are blended in this way on a more frequent basis this will bring huge benefits to traders. The interoperable nature of blockchain will mean that its user will be able to perform digital transactions across different platforms from one single point – transforming the arbitration process.
It is these technologies which will enable the transition to Web 3.0, another trend set to impact the industry.

An increasing embrace of automated machine technologies such as distributed ledgers and the use of storage on blockchain will facilitate data decentralisation and create a more transparent and secure environment not only for traders operating across capital markets, but for internet users around the world. The digital age is well and truly here – and we must be prepared.

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