April 22, 2024

StoneX Group Expands Digital Assets Team Amid Renewed Wall Street Interest in Crypto

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StoneX Group Inc is signaling a renewed interest in crypto markets by expanding its digital-assets team and diversifying its services to include crypto trading, lending, and research. This move follows the acquisition of key talent from Cowen Digital after the shutdown of Cowen Inc.’s digital-asset unit by Toronto-Dominion Bank last year.

The hiring spree includes Eric Rose, former managing director at Cowen Digital, who joined StoneX in October as the head of digital-asset execution. Four other professionals from Cowen Digital — Keith Coyne, David Kroger, Kyrill Firshein, and Nolan Aibel — have also transitioned to StoneX, marking a strategic alignment in their goals.

Rose emphasized that the objectives of Cowen Digital and StoneX are parallel, focusing on providing institutional coverage with white-glove, high-touch treatment for clients. The hires from Cowen Digital bring expertise and experience in crypto trading, contributing to StoneX’s efforts to enhance its presence in the evolving digital-assets landscape.

Despite a challenging period marked by scandals and market downturns, the $1.8 trillion crypto market is exhibiting signs of a comeback. StoneX’s expansion in the digital-assets domain signifies a growing confidence in the market’s potential.

In 2022, Cowen became one of the first investment banks to offer crypto trading to institutional clients, but Toronto-Dominion’s acquisition led to the closure of Cowen Inc.’s digital-asset unit. StoneX’s recent strategic moves highlight a divergence from traditional Wall Street approaches, reflecting a commitment to actively engage with crypto tokens.

The recent surge in Bitcoin, reaching $50,000 for the first time since December 2021, has fueled optimism in the crypto market. Last month’s U.S. approval of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has played a role in boosting confidence in the mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies.

StoneX Digital LLC, the digital-assets arm of StoneX Group, is building on its 2022 launch led by Brian Mulcahy. The platform currently facilitates trading of Bitcoin using Etana Custody as a custodian. Future plans include the introduction of non-custodial trading for Bitcoin and Ether, enabling clients to execute various trading strategies seamlessly.

In the second quarter of 2024, StoneX Digital aims to launch over-the-counter trading for swaps and derivatives, providing clients with exposure to crypto without relying on a custody service. Additionally, the firm plans to venture into crypto-lending services in the latter half of the year.

Eric Rose emphasized the broader goal of StoneX Digital to open up digital assets to a wider audience. While ETF structures offer price appreciation and access to price, StoneX Digital aims to provide clients with access to the entire crypto ecosystem.

This expansion also marks StoneX’s strategic hiring of former TD Cowen employees, following its recent addition of credit staff from the firm to bolster its distressed-debt sales and trading business.

Digital Assets Desk

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