(Craig Austin and Jim Bai are the co-founders of EMX, the newly launched derivatives exchange. Craig is the Chief Technology Officer, and Jim leads the market making and sales side).
- How would you describe the main pillars of your product?
Craig: EMX is the place to trade global markets using your crypto. We’re focused on providing a high-quality user-experience that builds trust with our traders. From the start, we’ve also aimed to build a fair marketplace that levels the playing field between big traders and small traders through the use of frequent batch auctions (where traders compete on price) rather than a continuous matching engine (where speed is paramount). Finally, we’re interested in “leveling up” the crypto trading space by bringing some ideas from traditional markets to crypto — and allowing traders to trade popular non-crypto markets alongside their crypto. That’s how we define EMX: a trusted marketplace with great UX where you can trade the world’s markets.
2. What is your team strength? Do you have any partner backing you up?
Jim: We have a world class team of professional traders, engineers, and marketers that make up EMX. I was a trader at Citigroup and a hedge fund for almost 10 years in NY, Craig began his career at Microsoft and then worked at AQR, a $200bn dollar hedge fund, for 7 years. Our experience trading and building platforms in quant finance, along with the rest of the team of seasoned professionals, gives us the experience to build and operate an institutional grade derivatives exchange.
We are working with several partners, including #Hashed and Bain Capital Ventures on the venture side. We have a few others in the pipeline which we’ll announce over the next month as we launch the EMX token.
3. Let’s talk about your future: do you have any development plans you’d share with us?
Craig: In the next month, we’ll be focused on launching the EMX Token and launching our first spot market (EMX/BTC) on the platform to support access to the token. We think being able to trade derivatives as well as spot on EMX will open up some new trading opportunities for our traders — and help us grow the user base.
We’re also leaning further into being the place where crypto traders go to trade global assets by building a dashboard of both crypto and traditional asset prices, with a simple trading interface. We want to introduce new trading ideas to traders of all experience levels, and our interface needs to be as clean as possible to facilitate that.
Finally, we’re investing in mobile. 59% of EMX’s active traders in the month of July were trading from mobile. We’re excited to make trading on mobile a premier experience.
Meanwhile, we’re always eager to improve EMX based on user feedback. We have a core community of active traders that let us know what products they’d like to trade (crypto as well as traditional) as well as features they’d like to see added. Our Brazillian community asked for a Tezos future recently, and the team built and launched that product within a few days. We’re always open to new ideas!
4. Traders already have a vast amount of exchanges to choose from, what makes you think they will choose yours, what makes EMX different?
Craig: Well, to start, EMX has a sleek, modern interface. This sets us apart from most of the current batch of crypto exchanges. We also support multiple order types including useful conditions like post-only, reduce-only, and stops / take profits. We’re launching trailing stops in the next few days in response to a request from our community. Plus, we have a solid API for market makers and other algo traders. Lastly, if you have views on gold or US equities or the Euro, we’re the only place to trade those alongside your crypto! Just deposit BTC to EMX and you can trade world markets. We think that’s a pretty strong reason to give us a shot — and while you’re here, we think you’ll enjoy the UI and have a good experience. We provide great support and a fair and trustworthy service. Unfortunately, that’s not always true in crypto — and we think that helps us stand out.
5. Do you plan on doing token sales, like IEOs, on your own exchange token?
Jim: Yes, we have an exchange utility token that gives users discounted fees, allows staking for payments from the insurance fund, and the ability to use the token as collateral. It also provides on-exchange benefits, like trading competition multipliers when you hold the token.
We plan on selling our tokens on at least one other exchange and on EMX as well. For details you should sign up at EMX.com and join our mailing list.
6. What kinds of contracts do you have on the platform, and do you plan to list more? Is there a formal process for listing?
Jim: On the derivatives side, we have both crypto (like BTC and Tezos) and traditional contracts, including US500, Gold, and EUR/USD. We plan on rolling out other crypto contracts and traditional contracts in the weeks ahead. On the spot side, we will first list our own EMX native exchange token first. Listing for new contracts will be a collaborative effort between EMX and large token holders and traders.
7. About security now: We’ve seen a few exchanges being hacked in the past months. Do you have any safety in place to avoid this, and reassure your customers?
Craig: Trust and security are paramount for exchanges — and especially crypto exchanges. There are multiple facets to an exchange’s security operations- crypto storage, cloud systems, and surveillance. We’ve partnered with BitGo for safe-keeping of client funds. We have a strong engineering team with experience building cloud systems at Amazon, Microsoft, hedge funds, and SIlicon Valley startups. We’re building up an intelligent surveillance system over time as we gather operational data. We’re starting by processing withdrawals once-per-day for maximum protection of funds on the exchange. We hope to process withdrawals closer to real-time as we grow in experience.
Thanks four your time, Rand.