AI Fintech Goes After BGC With First Bitcoin Trade

(Bloomberg) -- A fintech startup that aims to make voice brokers obsolete has gone live with its first trade -- in Bitcoin.

London-based AiX last week negotiated its first Bitcoin-U.S. dollar trade using a proprietary artificial intelligence system that communicates with human traders at banks via chat services. The firm, which was founded in 2017 and employs 35 people, is going after voice brokers, such as BGC Partners and TP ICAP Plc., who earn fees from matching buyers and sellers by phone, by replacing them with an AI system.

While digital-asset trading doesn’t require regulatory approval, AiX is looking to expand to traditional asset classes and is in the process of applying for a license with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, according to Taylor Cable, the firm’s chief operating officer. He said it also plans to apply for regulatory approval with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

“Our intent is to fully replace the human broker,” said Cable, a former senior trader at Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital Management. “Our approach is that we’re going to be able to provide a platform that’s a better experience, that’s cheaper and at the same time has the ability to establish great relationships with our sales people so clients get the best of both worlds.”

While electronic platforms have expanded in a broad array of trading businesses, voice brokers still play a significant role in currencies, fixed income and derivatives.

The startup last year hired former BGC equity derivatives brokers Leslie Cabanes and Priyanka Jain to market its product to clients. Cabanes says she has since left the company.

AiX’s debut transaction last week was between GSR Markets and DV Chain. GSR said it supports new institutional platforms that aim to make the market more efficient and DV Chain said that it plans to combine using AiX and human brokers going forward.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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