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Bloomberg

Renegade Crypto Exchange Hires Mainstream CEO for a Makeover

(Bloomberg) – Alexander Höptner was leading the Börse Stuttgart when he seized the opportunity to accept a major job at BitMEX, a pioneering cryptocurrency exchange known for its high-risk offerings. themselves fugitives wanted by the United States government. Federal prosecutors in New York accused co-founder Arthur Hayes and other senior company officials of failing to implement a proper anti-money laundering operation on the derivatives trading platform. Hayes, along with his fellow owners and co-founders, resigned from his day-to-day leadership duty at the exchange’s holding company. Now, Höptner is tasked with pulling BitMEX out of the biggest crisis in its history and transforming a renegade crypto startup into something much more serious. Their goal: to change relationships with global regulators while expanding businesses ranging from spot trading to brokerage and custody services. “It came from the regulated and classical world. I already have many points of contact with regulators, ”the 50-year-old said in his first interview since taking over as CEO in January. “I am now working on the crypto side and bringing the crypto side to the regulated world,” said Höptner, currently in Hong Kong while considering a permanent base in Asia. See the Bloomberg Television interview here. criminal charges against BitMEX’s co-founders, or in a parallel civil action by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleging that BitMEX illegally allowed Americans to trade on the platform. Hayes, who was in Singapore, discussed the possibility of turning himself in to US authorities in April, according to a court file released this week. Read more: BitMEX founders accused of failing to prevent money laundering In his native Germany, Höptner ran the Börse Stuttgart when it became the country. first regulated trading venue for digital tokens in 2019, and prior to that, it spent more than a decade with the rival Frankfurt Stock Exchange. It didn’t take him long to accept BitMEX’s job offer, he said, because he had been contemplating a move toward crypto derivatives on the global stage. Alex wants to move faster in the crypto economy. He knows that it is not possible for him to do that in Stuttgart, ”said Thomas Munz, a former board member of the German stock exchange who retired in October. There are already some changes in the tone and policies of the company. In January, BitMEX said it had verified the identities, locations, and credentials of all its customers, a program that started in August. Corporate clients now account for about 60% of volume, totaling $ 1 trillion over the past year, as the exchange expands beyond its main following of risk-loving retail traders. On average, users apply single-digit leverage to multiply their bets, he said. That’s far from the highest 100x leverage the platform allows, which also gives the name to its holding company, 100x Group. Hoptner says he’s engaging with regulators globally to get to the point where BitMEX can provide services in a regulated manner, and we’re also working to help shape government oversight. “We are reaching out to regulators where we are currently present, but we will also communicate with regulators where we are not,” he said. Just as rivals like Binance are reducing BitMEX’s market share in derivatives, Höptner is preparing to expand BitMEX’s offering in spot trading and adjacent areas such as brokerage and custody, handling transactions and assets for clients. “We have to quickly decide how we want to approach these aspects and then see if we can find a partner or if we build something or buy something,” he said. He also has to grapple with the memory of Hayes, a model of the freer early days of cryptocurrencies. The 34-year-old trader-turned-entrepreneur recently broke a silence maintained since the indictment in a blog post defending the cryptocurrency rally and the stock of memes like GameStop Corp. Putting himself in the iconic founder’s shoes, Höptner said: not trying to be someone else. I am who I am. ”(Updates with CEO exploring a permanent foundation in the fourth paragraph) For more articles like this, visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the latest business news source trusted. © 2021 Bloomberg LP

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