As crypto desks face headwinds, one UK OTC firm is seizing the chance to branch into the U.S

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via block

You lose some, you win some.

That seems to be the current trend among major crypto market makers, as UK firm B2C2 announced its expansion into the U.S. Thursday amid glitches and major departures elsewhere.

No doubt, it sniffs an opportunity for fresh meat, given B2C2 has already stretched into Tokyo and Europe.

“When it comes to the U.S., it is a market that in terms of regulation, you have to be careful,” B2C2’s CEO Max Boonen told The Block. “It took us some time to get comfortable about the U.S.…It’s a very big market for crypto. The stars have aligned.”

To lead the U.S. front, it has hired Rob Catalanello — an electrical engineer turned e-commerce guru, who served on New York’s Federal Reserve FX Market Committee for nine years.

“I was very impressed by B2C2’s tech, and its business model,” Catalanello said in a joint-interview, explaining his decision to head its U.S. branch, which will be based in Jersey City.

The firm will initially focus on cash trading against the U.S. dollar, targeting wholesale institutional investors primarily, but did not rule out eventually introducing its main product of derivatives trading.

“We’re not going to cut corners. FINRA, CFTC [regulatory bodies] – those things are in play…But we want to make a success of cash trading in the U.S., and we’ll follow demand if we need to start offering different products,” Boonen said.

The firm recently surpassed its one-millionth electronic OTC trade in just over three years of operating.

“I’m very optimistic based on the early response,” Catalanello said, noting that B2C2’s “technological leadership” and institutional-geared customer service would help differentiate it in the US OTC market, which is currently dominated by Circle and Cumberland.

Elsewhere, desks appear to be facing more headwinds in terms of being able to keep on their Wall Street talent. CMT Digital, a Chicago-based firm, laid off more than 10 people from its OTC team, as The Block previously reported. Kenetic Capital, another firm, shut its advisory and over-the-counter trading business.

At Cumberland, a Chicago-based crypto OTC firm, the global head of business development is preparing to leave at the end of the month, as The Block reported earlier this week.

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