In June we described the Wall Street union of Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Citadel Securities and Virtu as a “fat-cat supergroup“. Well, they’ve just launched their debut crypto-themed album – the EDXM exchange.

Financial giants Charles Schwab, Citadel Securities and Fidelity Digital Assets today announced via a press release the start of cryptocurrency exchange EDX Markets (EDXM) – aimed at both institutional and retail investors.

Just yesterday, Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz was mentioning “a little bird” in his ear telling him Fidelity was likely about to do something like this. Come to think of it, given Fidelity had already pretty much signalled this intention back in June, it wasn’t really much of a tip-off from old Novo. Unless, that is, Fidelity is planning something separate to this group venture.

Nevertheless, this is still pretty enormous institutional-adoption news for the crypto space – news that’s probably being completely overshadowed today by the CPI-related, market-wide dumping. And that’s a nervy, slippery slide that the crypto majors are doing their utmost to halt at the time of writing.

(Bitcoin is back up just a fraction from this morning and currently changing hands for about US$20,300. Same deal for Ethereum, which has just moved back above US$1,610.)


A ‘first of its kind’ crypto exchange

The new crypto exchange is being touted as a “first of its kind” and is being led by Jamil Nazarali, a former senior executive at Citadel Securities. EDXM will also be aided by venture capital entities including Paradigm, Sequoia Capital, and Virtu Financial.

Why is this a first-of-its-kind exchange, then? According to the statement, it will “address latent demand for digital asset trading by enabling safe and compliant trading of digital assets through trusted intermediaries.”

Okay… not sure we haven’t seen that before, exactly, but go on…

“The new exchange will combine proven technology provided by MEMX with best practices from traditional financial markets and tighter spreads enabled by greater liquidity, to support secure, fast and efficient cryptocurrency trading for US retail and institutional investors.”

Hmm, okay. MEMX stands for Members Exchange, by the way, which is a US stock market owned by a large group of financial firms, including the EDXM creators, as well as Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, TD Ameritrade, UBS, Virtu Financial and E*TRADE.

Okay then… we’re beginning to see why this is indeed first-of-kind territory. It’s basically a let’s-all-return-some-videos-together, “Greed is good”, “I’M NOT LEAVING!” Wall Street-athon and a collective legacy-finance tilt at capturing a bigger slice of the crypto market.

Is this good for crypto? Time will tell. It’s not like these bigwigs haven’t already been tooling around for a while now in, or on the outskirts of the crypto market and possibly tweaking the odd string for a laff with Machiavellian fingers.

Other major Wall Street players, for example the world’s largest asset hog BlackRock, have been dipping quite a bit more than a toe in just lately, too.

But one thing’s clear –  it’s a flashing, open-for-business sign that there’s still massive interest in this space.

“Crypto is a $1 trillion global asset class with over 300 million participants and pent-up demand from millions more,” the EDX Markets’ board of directors commented in the statement – we imagine in monosyllabic unison while not looking up from their menus at the fictional Dorsia restaurant in American Psycho.

“Unlocking this demand requires a platform that can meet the needs of both retail traders and institutional investors with high compliance and security standards,” the board continued, before comparing bone-coloured business cards with embossed “Silian Rail” lettering. Probably.