tZERO appoints David Goone as CEO amid investment from ICE

Rick Steves

The deal will make ICE a significant minority shareholder in tZERO, but terms will not be disclosed. The funding round included the participation of other leading investors such as Overstock.com, Inc. and Medici Ventures. 

Intercontinental Exchange has made a strategic investment in tZERO, a leader in blockchain innovation and liquidity for digital assets.

David Goone, ICE’s Chief Strategy Officer, will join tZERO as its next Chief Executive Officer and will serve on tZERO’s Board of Directors, while continuing to serve ICE and its Chairman and CEO, Jeff Sprecher, in a consulting capacity.

David Goone, a key player at ICE

Jeff Sprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, said: “David Goone was present at many of ICE’s milestone moments and deals over two decades, a key player on our management team as we built our world-class trading, clearing and data infrastructure and product line, and has been a steward of our problem-solving culture.

“David’s leadership and his mastery of trading, data, and clearing technology will be a big asset as tZERO begins its next chapter leading the growth and adoption of next-generation market infrastructure.”

tZERO’s new chief executive developed and managed many of ICE’s product lines and oversaw ICE Benchmark Administration, which has administered LIBOR and the global gold and silver fixings.

He has served on many of ICE’s subsidiary exchange boards and represents ICE on several industry boards, including the Depository Trust Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Options Clearing Corporation (OCC), and the National Futures Association (NFA). Goone also served as Vice Chairman of CETIP S.A. until its merger with B3 exchange in Brazil.

tZERO operates an SEC-regulated alternative trading system (ATS) and broker-dealer in the digital asset space, bringing together issuers and financial firms seeking a transparent, automated, digitally enabled marketplace and investors seeking access to unique private assets, public equities, cryptocurrencies, and other digital assets, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Expanded crypto offering and a $800k fine

In October 2021, tZERO added more popular cryptocurrencies/tokens to its proprietary platform: Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Stellar Lumen (XLM), Cardano (ADA), Compound (COMP), and Uniswap (UNI), bringing the total available cryptocurrency suite to 15 different coins.

The additional cryptocurrencies complement tZERO’s existing product range of digital assets, which includes the already installed Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Chainlink, Dogecoin, USDC, 0x, Bitcoin SV, Basic Attention Token, and Ravencoin.

tZERO has been quickly shoring up its offerings with more altcoins. While 2020 marked the launch of its platform and a gradual embrace of crypto products, the latest expansions have been fueled by consistent demand for more diverse options.

The move comes on the heels of tZERO launching major updates to its crypto app, which introduced faster settlement times and higher buy limits: The app now supports $25,000 per day deposit limits as part of its standard offering.

Earlier this year, tZERO settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission, who fined the blockchain-powered trading platform $800,000 for allegedly violating federal disclosure rules.

The SEC pressed charges against tZERO because it has allegedly failed to properly disclose key information in accordance with federal regulations.

The trading platform was sharing order information with a broker-dealer affiliate and Blue Ocean Technologies, a Singapore-based trading partner that it later acquired. tZERO also failed to file an amendment to its Form ATS with the SEC for more than two years.

“These proceedings arise out of Respondent’s operation of an alternative trading system (“ATS”), pursuant to an exemption from registration that required it to comply with Regulation ATS, promulgated under the Exchange Act.2 Regulation ATS requires, among other things, that ATSs make certain disclosures to the Commission”, said the SEC’s order.

“In addition, Regulation ATS requires an ATS that has a significant percentage of overall trading volume in a security or category of securities during a certain period of time to comply with a number of heightened requirements, known as the “Fair Access Rule”.

“Whether and how an ATS displays orders and trading interest is fundamental to any ATS’s operations because order display provides buyers and sellers with the expectation of liquidity in the ATS and the potential execution of a participant’s orders,” the SEC order added.

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