BlockFi Launches ‘Prime’ For Institutional Investors

Demand steady from institutional and high-net worth individuals despite slump in market.

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key takeaways

  • BlockFi executives call this the ‘evolution’ of digital assets
  • Margin trading and lending as well as derivatives are in the works

Citing high demand from institutional investors, BlockFi announced today that its launching BlockFi Prime, a trading platform geared towards institutional investors and high-net worth individuals.

BlockFi Prime will offer clients a “full suite” of trading capabilities including real-time streaming quotes, a 24-hour settlement cycle, real-time quotes, and, in the future margin lending, trading, as well as access to derivatives markets.

BlockFi also said that it will include API access that lets users integrate their own high-frequency trading algorithms into the platform. 

BlockFi’s 24-hour settlement tool means that traders don’t have to pre-fund their account to trade. Instead, it can be funded up to 24 hours after the trade which is useful for a market that operates outside of traditional business hours.  

“Developing and launching BlockFi Prime is a natural next step for us as we continue to respond to the evolution of digital assets and institutional investors adjust their trading strategies,” said David Olsson, Vice President and Global Head of Institutional Distribution at BlockFi, in a statement. “Just in the last year, we have added lending, trade execution, private client services and new products in order to help our clients meet their investment goals, and BlockFi Prime gathers all of those resources in one easy-to-use tool.”

In another interview Olsson said that BlockFi has a few hundred active institutional clients, up from 30 a year ago. 

Speaking with Blockworks via email, he said that BlockFi believes institutions are still interested in entering the market despite what some have called the beginning of a bear market. 

“Institutions committed to the space when prices were higher, and invested in the infrastructure and human resources needed to support their investments for the long haul,” he said. “Now, those institutional investors still believe in the macro case for crypto, due to an inflationary economic environment and use cases for blockchain’s utility. For those reasons, we believe the most potential alpha of any asset class is in crypto at the moment.”

On June 8, news leaked that BlockFi was in talks to raise a new Series E funding round of $500 million, bringing the company total valuation to nearly $5 billion.

The latest BlockFi news comes on the heels of two other significant moves that meld the world of digital assets and traditional finance.

Earlier Thursday, State Street, a custodian bank that manages over $40 trillion in assets, announced that it is opening up a digital assets division covering both crypto and tokenized assets.

In addition, hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger said that it had closed a $380 million Series C fundraising round to expand its institutionally-focused secure custody solutions.   

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