George Zarya: Shaving inefficiencies from digital currency markets

George Zarya: Shaving inefficiencies from digital currency markets

October 8, 2020

Bequant is a London-based financial business that describes itself as “a one stop solution for professional digital assets, investors and institutions.”

Its founder and CEO George Zarya explained how the business offers a range of services, including prime brokerage, exchange, custody and fund administration, that mirror the way a more traditional financial services business. And yet Bequant works exclusively with cryptocurrencies, simplifying access to that market.

“We’re trying to bring in more professionalism, a more established type of approach and apply it to this new emerging market,” George says.

There’s an irony about trying to bridge the gap between the crypto business and the financial establishment because, as George says, Bitcoin began with the idea of decentralization “and removing the intermediaries from the whole cycle”.

And yet Bequant is a kind of intermediary, for which George offers no apologies: “in the institutional world, the intermediaries play a very important role. That’s why we feel that the prime brokerage solutions, the professional exchanges that aggregate source liquidity, brokers, liquidity providers – are very important to facilitate these functions.”

But it’s not just a question of mirroring the structures that George knew from his previous work in more traditional financial institutions: this is a new field and there’s also the chance to introduce innovation that’s appropriate for the world of crypto:

“We shaved off a lot of inefficiencies, if I can judge from my experience in the traditional space where we had an army of operations people, an army of onboarding people and a handful of IT guys sitting in the corner. Now things have changed tremendously: you have an army of IT guys and zero in operations. Everything is automated.”

With offices in London and Malta, Bequant has been in business since early 2018 (although “it feels like a decade”, George says). It hasn’t been hard to attract experienced people from the City to join, and the staff now numbers about 35. They like the novelty of the new world of crypto: “I think that part of the reason why a lot of people move into the industry is the dynamics of the space. The traditional space is becoming utterly boring.”

Bequant is a big business already, with the exchange having a monthly turnover of “roughly eight hundred million to a billion” and volumes on the prime brokerage averaging more than a hundred million a day. “These numbers are maybe shocking,” George says, “but again, from the institutional perspective, it’s a normal sort of size that your typical quantitative trading fund would generate.”

When it comes to BSV, George is supportive of efforts to promote adoption through its scaling capacity and the ecosystem’s development: “adoption is one of the most important things for the industry, generally speaking. And we support any project that is working towards that goal and offers the tools to to build upon and grow the industry.”

Hear the whole of George Zarya’s interview in this week’s CoinGeek Conversation podcast:

You can also watch the podcast video on YouTube.

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