Institutions Are Going Crypto — But How Do They Share Info?

The Tie hopes crypto firms avoid the mistakes of Wall Street, fined beaucoup bucks for relying on messaging apps like Signal and Telegram


StockStyle/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Crypto and institutions go together like lightning and thunder these days. Traditional finance shops are moving over, while the digital asset market births debutants all by itself.

This brings about two problems:

  1. How do institutions — which are meant to represent the smart money — find market moving information before markets move?
  2. How can they share that information with clients while remaining compliant with strict data security controls?

The Tie, a crypto-native data platform, is gunning to solve both concerns. In the same vein as Bloomberg Terminal, the firm’s crypto-only terminal platform serves as an all-in-one screener for news, market data, regulatory filings, analytics and research. 

The startup, founded in 2017, says it has attracted more than 150 hedge funds, asset managers, venture capital firms, over-the-counter desks, market makers and the like (and even news organizations such as Blockworks).

It’s common for such firms to rely on encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram — but regulators have recently handed out billions of dollars in fines for communicating about trades or other orders via platforms that don’t preserve business records, a key SEC requirement.

Those firms require chat histories to be stored and logged in a compliant manner, and until recently, they haven’t had a way to communicate with their counterparties from within the terminal.

“The roll-out of The Tie Terminal Messenger enables firms like ours to take advantage of [the digital asset investor network] and compliantly communicate with a range of leading market participants including banks, asset managers, funds, and liquidity providers,” Rob Hadick, general partner at Dragonfly Capital, said in a statement.

There are other firms shooting for the same market. Aurox, for one, is a free terminal service intended to support fast-moving crypto traders, but its offerings are more skewed towards retail investors, rather than institutional types. 

Other crypto-specific terminals, such as Orion Terminal, are more like market aggregators, allowing trades across multiple platforms all under one umbrella platform. And of course, there’s the Bloomberg Terminal, which does support a number of cryptocurrencies, but its selection is comparatively limited. 

To help service institutional types that need more variety, The Tie’s terminal messenger is SOC 2 compliant, a benchmark built by the American Institute of CPAs, which translates to strict internal controls regarding how data — such as sensitive financial messages between institutions — is stored (to avoid leaks and whatnot).

All Tie Terminal users are verified via corporate email, reducing the chance of profile spoofing commonly seen across Telegram and WhatsApp. The firm says around half of its clients are using the messenger app but declined to give specific metrics for total usage so far.

“More than 80 of our 150+ clients have turned on Messenger and we are already seeing a significant number of messages per day,” CEO Josh Frank told Blockworks. “We anticipate both users and messenger volume to increase over time as new connections are formed and comfort with the feature improves.”

The Tie was valued at $100 million in March last year, when it raised a $9 million round led by Avalanche-focused venture firm Blizzard.

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