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Kraken OTC serves institutional clients managing billions despite slow growth among Wall Street counterparties

August 27, 2019, 11:24AM EDT

Kraken over-the-counter trading head Nelson Minier said the desk is engaging with more mature financial firms, but not as quickly as he had anticipated.

Though the desk now trades with hedge funds that manage billions, it's taken time to grow interest from those sorts of players, and the growth continues to be something of a slog, Minier said on the latest episode of The Scoop.

Minier declined to mention specific funds, but he did say that the company serves some funds as large as $5-$20 billion.

As part of an effort to court additional hedge fund business, Kraken's desk brought someone on to cover institutional sales, and though he was connected "like a freight train," according to Minier, he struggled to build the client base.

"Now that's changing, and now it's changing slowly," he said. "It's slower than I would want to believe."

But Minier said bitcoin is the asset they're looking for, many just haven't come around to it yet. He calls it the "Holy Grail of portfolio management." The historic returns should be a draw, according to Minier, but many managers are wary of crypto's purportedly high risk.

"These guys should be killing themselves to put this in their portfolios but the problem is that they have constituents that they have to pander to which is the investors and people still think that this is a joke and it’s going to zero," he said.

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