UK foreign exchange trading platform operator LMAX has announced that it will launch a cryptocurrency exchange tailored for banks, hedge funds, and other institutional investors.
The London-based company made the announcement on Monday, explaining that the new platform — dubbed LMAX Digital — is the “first physical crypto currency exchange dedicated to serving only institutional clients.”
LMAX CEO David Mercer said that the decision to create the cryptocurrency exchange was made in response to client demand and that he believes the new platform would help legitimize the industry in the eyes of financial institutions.
“We are furthering the legitimisation of the crypto currency market by offering institutions a platform on which to acquire, trade and hold crypto currencies securely with high quality, deep liquidity,” he said in a statement, adding:
“The rise of institutional trading of crypto currencies will be a game-changer for the industry. We believe our new exchange will support the transformation of the crypto market from the fringes to the mainstream. Digital currencies are, without a doubt, coming of age. Exchanges will play a crucial role in bringing the major crypto currencies into wider circulation, helping them to become accepted into conventional funds which in turn will help to support a normalisation of value.”
LMAX says that the exchange will only support the “most liquid and established” cryptocurrencies. At launch, it features trading pairs for bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), ripple (XRP), and bitcoin cash (BCH).
In addition to its London office, the company said that it intends to expand LMAX Digital into New York and Tokyo to better help it serve clients globally.
The announcement is the latest indication that institutional investors may finally be warming to cryptocurrency as an asset class.
During last week’s cryptocurrency mega-conference Consensus, a number of firms announced products designed to lure institutional traders into the cryptocurrency marketplace. Perhaps most notably, Japanese holding company Nomura partnered with cryptocurrency wallet manufacturer Ledger to establish a consortium that will develop products for institutional investors.
Previously, Goldman Sachs revealed that it will launch a bitcoin futures trading operation that may eventually handle “physical bitcoin,” while JPMorgan has begun formally developing a “cryptocurrency strategy.”
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