Seed CX, a licensed cryptocurrency exchange focusing on institutional investors, has recently revealed it raised $15 million in its series B funding round, which was led by Bain Capital Ventures and OKCoin.
The Chicago-based crypto exchange, according to a press release, offers institutional trading and settlement for crypto’s spot market and related derivatives regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The round brings Seed CX’s total funding to date to $25 million. Its funds are set to be used to expand its physical trading infrastructure, double its team to close to 40, and broaden its network of institutional trading groups. The exchange has reportedly already hired heavyweights, including the former managing director at CME Group John Hart.
According to Business Insider the company is currently in the process of onboarding clients. Its CEO and co-founder, Edward Woodford, noted the exchange’s growth has been tied to hedge funds’ interest in the crypto space. Per his words, funds are now getting comfortable with the market.
Woodford was quoted as saying:
They now see it in the same way they see the VIX and gold. One fund manager told me he wants it as a part of his macro strategy as a hedge against the broader portfolio.
Institutional investors’ growing interest, he noted, is tied to the trading technology in the space, as “in the finance world, anything less than 99.999% uptime seems pretty horrendous.” Crypto exchanges, he claimed, were created for retail investors, where lower uptime isn’t such “a big deal.”
Seed CX is reportedly going to help investors manage risks in their operations through a number of features that include a regime of trade surveillance and audit trails. Woodford added that out of the firms that have shown interest in using Seed CX, those who have never traded cryptocurrencies are in the “double digit percentage.”
In the press release, Woodford was quoted as saying:
As a licensed exchange for both spot and derivatives trading, we deliver the operational risk safeguards, strong institutional technology, operational support, and regulatory compliance that institutions demand. What is particularly exciting is that our unique offering brings large institutional traders, who have so far sat on the sidelines, into the crypto space for the first time.
Despite the interest institutional investors have in the space, some are taking a cautious approach, as they’re wary about the regulatory uncertainty surrounding crypto. Per Business Insider, a crypto hedge funder revealed some believe the SEC may go after ether’s founders and early adopters for “promoting an unregistered security.”
As CryptoGlobe covered the SEC recently announced its “first-ever enforcement action finding an investment company registration violation by a hedge fund manager based on its investments in digital assets."