Obituary: Campbell Adams, founder of ParFX and Pure Digital, passes away

Rick Steves

Campbell Adams’ pioneering spirit and his contributions to the development of the FX industry as well as the digital asset trading space will be remembered and valued by industry peers and the broader financial community.

The foreign exchange industry mourns the loss of Campbell Adams, a seasoned veteran whose contributions have left an indelible mark on the sector.

Known for his innovative spirit and deep understanding of the market, Adams’ career spanned several decades, filled with significant achievements and transformative initiatives.

Campbell Adams was a remarkable figure in the traditional and digital finance world, known for creating Pure Digital Markets, a significant digital currency trading initiative, and serving as the Director of S1Bit, a next-generation tool for professional digital traders. He was also the founder and designer of the award-winning wholesale FX market platform, ParFX. Beyond his financial expertise, Adams also had a successful career in international motorsport.

Adams’ journey in the FX industry was distinguished by his roles at top-tier global institutions. His career included senior positions at Citibank, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, BP, ICAP, and Tradition, where he showcased his expertise in trading, sales, and product development.

His academic background, with a BA (Hons) in Economics from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, laid the foundation for his deep understanding of the economic theory of perfect markets​.

An FX pioneer that pivoted to digital assets

Perhaps the most significant contribution of Campbell Adams was the founding of the FX Pure initiative. This project, which eventually evolved into the ParFX trading platform (now owned by Tradition), was formed in collaboration with top global FX trading banks. ParFX is a testament to Adams’ vision of creating a new and unique trading platform, which is now successfully operating. This initiative reflected his ability to innovate and lead, even amidst the challenges and transformations of the FX market​​​​.

Adams was a key figure in addressing the impacts of high-frequency trading (HFT) firms on the FX market. Recognizing the unique nature of the FX market and the needs of its “real world” participants, he developed mechanisms, such as randomization, to thwart latency arbitrage strategies. This approach was not only innovative but also necessary at the time, changing the behavior of market participants and influencing the industry’s trajectory​​.

With the emergence of the crypto industry, Campbell Adams pivoted the Pure business towards digital assets, a project he passionately worked on since 2018. Based in London, Pure Digital was founded to bridge the gap between traditional financial markets and the burgeoning world of cryptocurrencies.

Pure Digital emerged as a groundbreaking enterprise, creating a fully automated, high throughput over-the-counter (OTC) market for digital assets and cryptocurrencies, featuring physical delivery and bank custody. The platform’s multi-custodial nature and its integration with traditional banking infrastructure, utilizing FX-industry standard APIs, reflect Adams’ vision for a seamless and efficient digital asset marketplace.

Adams’ untimely death leaves behind a robust framework in Pure Digital, a beacon in the digital asset trading space that continues to influence and shape the future of cryptocurrency trading in the institutional market.

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