Tagomi Brings Agency to Crypto
In a market designed to intermediate financial intermediaries, startup Tagomi has brought agency execution of digital currency trades to institutional investors.
Launched at the end of 2018, the 14-person firm, which is named after a character from Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, provides has aggregated liquidity from several crypto exchanges as well as over-the-counter dealers into a centralized order book.
“We are taking a conservative approach on the regulatory side,” Jennifer Campbell, co-founder and CEO of Tagomi told Markets Media. “Today, you can trade bitcoin, ether, litecoin, and bitcoin cash, but you also can track the top 20 tokens on the platform.”
The firm initially based its selection of liquidity providers based on its clients’ desire to trade fiat-bitcoin pairs as well as fiat and other digital currencies, but it prioritized the USD pairs, she added.
“As new exchanges come online, especially well-run and well-regulated ones, we would definitely add to the pool and build out to new liquidity sources,” said Marc Bhargava, co-founder and president at Tagomi.
“We impose certain standards on whom we wish to connect,” added Venu Palaparthi, chief compliance officer at Tagomi. “After that, it depends on how much exposure we want with those exchanges. It is not just a matter of connecting to exchanges that just lit up.”
Unlike many digital exchanges, Tagomi does not provide liquidity using its own balance sheet.
“We are never acting as principal on our client transactions” noted Greg Tusar, co-founder and CTO of Tagomi. “As agents, we are un-conflicted and focused only on how to achieve the best price for our clients.”
The firm provides access to third-party custody services, post-trade reports that identifies where it executed trades as well as the associated fees related to the transaction.
Tagomi declined to identify its early clients beyond an un-named asset manager dipping its toe into the digital currency market and high net worth individuals who are trying to avoid slippage from trading on a single exchange,
The firm operates as a registered money-transfer business in 14 states, has filed an application for a bitcoin license with the New York State Department of Financial Services, and has applied for broker-dealer status with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Obtaining the broker-dealer status would permit Tagomi to add securities tokens to its portfolio of supported asset types and trade them within the boundaries set by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, according to Palaparthi.
“It is safe to assume that, in time, we would be able to add additional virtual currencies,” he said. “And on the securities side, we will do whatever we are allowed to operate in terms of adding securities tokens.”
Aim is to support innovation that will benefit consumers.
USC envisages being 100% backed by fiat currency held at the respective central bank.
Novelty, politics, and rapid evolution will preclude meaningful harmonization.
Many of the regulatory issues are common to traditional securities trading venues.
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