Singapore-based crypto exchange Crypto.com (disclosure: a sponsor of Unchained) deploys internal teams to trade tokens for profit, the Financial Times reported late on Sunday.
Sources close to the matter told the publication that executives at the exchange managed the internal market making operation, all the while making “absolutely dramatic sworn statements that Crypto.com was in no way involved in trading” to external trading houses.
Crypto.com denied asking employees to lie to other market participants but acknowledged the existence of the internal market making teams.
“This is not a controversial practice,” a spokesperson for the exchange told FT, explaining that the trading team works to make sure the exchange is risk neutral by hedging positions on several venues, including Crypto.com itself.
However, sources with knowledge of the matter claim that the proprietary trading desk isn’t concerned with facilitating an exchange, but rather functions with the sole intention of making money.
According to the people, the market making desk tries to increase liquidity on the exchange – something that Crypto.com accepted, telling FT that its priority was to continuously improve order book liquidity and lower spreads to create a more efficient market.
Aside from maintaining a liquid trading venue, internal market making operations can sometimes lead to the exchange front-running retail investors trading on the platform, making the practice fairly controversial.
Still, a number of exchanges, including BitMEX and Binance, have run internal trading desks with the goal of making markets more liquid.