The RazReport Podcast: The Future Of Crypto Trading with Jakub Rehor, Co-Founder and CIO of Lucy Labs

In this edition of the RazReport we have Jakub Rehor Co-Founder and CIO of Lucy Labs.


Jason Raznick:Welcome to the RazReport Podcast Jakub, lets start with basics, where did you grow up?


Jakub Rehor: I grew up in Czechoslovakia, so it was in the 1970s and 1980s. So it was still a communist country and it was a very different place than then living here in the US now.


Jason Raznick: So you went through the Velvet Revolution?


Jakub Rehor: Yeah. The Velvet Revolution. One thing I might mention, because it has something to do with crypto is there was an interesting currency situation in Czechoslovakia.


So you had the national currency, which was the crown and that's what you were to earn and you would spend in regular shops, but you also had hard currency stores that had stuff that the regular shops didn't have. And if you want it to be shopping in those hard currency stores, you need i the special vouchers that that were exchangeable for a higher currency.


And you could go into these stores and use these vouchers to pay for, more luxury luxurious stuff. And nobody would really ask you how you got your hands on it. That it was a, it was just considered to be okay. And the third currency that was circulating in the country was the Deutsche Mark.


If you were planning to go on a vacation abroad or you were planning to live it up and go to restaurants and buy some souvenirs you would use Deutsche Mark. So there was really like three currencies in circulation in the country. And there was a gray market where people would be changing from one currency to another.


So I'm familiar with with a situation where technically you have a single currency, but you have actually in reality, multiple circulating currencies with fluctuating exchange rates


 And the connection to crypto is that people are talking about now, oh, why would we even have something like Bitcoin running in parallel with whatever the country currencies is?


And it's so strange and there will be never any need for it. And I'm like, no, that's normal to me. I grew up with that. That's just absolutely normal state of affairs.


Jason Raznick: And so you going with those multiple currencies, do you think then, like the Bitcoin revolution will be here stay?


Jakub Rehor: Oh, it's absolutely here to stay. Nobody will uninvent Bitcoin. We now know that it's impossible. Whatever happens to Bitcoin in itself somebody will come up with a new cryptocurrency. It's just you'll never put this genie back into the bottle. What Bitcoin did was to do something that was considered impossible.


Prior to that, a lot of people have tried to create native internet currency, and a lot of them foundered on the same set of problems. They, it was centralized. It was easy to shut down. It was referring to an underlying FIAT or underlying commodity and it was difficult to keep the ledger synchronized around the world.


And Bitcoin solved all of these problems. It really, it is a real breakthrough in computer science.


Jason Raznick: It brings you back to when you were growing up in Czechoslovakia where there were multiple currencies.


Jakub Rehor: Yeah. And the problem that Bitcoin solves are very often not problems that we have here in the US here, the payment systems work pretty well here.


Banks work pretty well. You're not worried about your ATM stopping working tomorrow. So explaining the value of Bitcoin to Americans is a little bit like it, it sounds a little bit unreal, the problems that it's trying to solve, but you go outside of the US you go to countries like Cyprus or Lebanon, Venezuela Iran. They get it. They mean they understand that solves their problems today and here.


Jason Raznick: So going back to your upbringing, you ended up going to school at Yale. Was that from Czechoslovakia or like how'd you end up in Yale?


Jakub Rehor: So I was studying electrical engineering and Czechoslovakia, and I was involved in the students strike.I joined the national student strike coordinating committee, which was part of the Velvet Revolution. We basically built the check internet very early on.


We connected all the universities across the country hook them up and we use that network to print and distribute all the materials that the the development revolution leaders were putting out. Our goal was to break the monopoly, the media monopoly that the communist media had and get all this information out into people's hands.


And we mentioned to do that in a space of a week, about a week and a half. We we hooked up basically all the printers and copy machines and fax machines that we could get our hands on. And we were printing we're printing posters and materials by the tens of thousands. We had them on all the streets in the country.


Jason Raznick: And did it catch on?


Jakub Rehor: Yeah. When the student strike started it originally was just a couple of schools and then it snowballed it started at the theater academy. Then, we joined as the electrical engineering and pretty much all the schools very quickly joined on and 10 days after the start of the strike, we were able to organize a general strike where the whole country shut down for 2 hours. To send the message to the government that we can prove that we have general support for what we stand for.

And in order to organize the general strike, you really needed to coordinate all this information, get it out, get it into the right hands. Early on we realized that kind of, again, there's a connection to Bitcoin.


The problem really wasn't in trying to encrypt the communication on our network. We didn't really care if the secret service was reading us or not, because we were putting it out and posters and all that stuff. Anyway, the real challenge was to authenticate the information. We were worried that the state security would try to inject some provocative material in there to try to disrupt us by sending false information. And there, so authentication was, it was more of an issue than.

And it's very similar to Bitcoin where all the transactions are visible to everyone. They're not encrypted, which address sent how much to what address, but the important part is authenticated. You cannot fake sending money. You cannot send money that you don't have.


Jason Raznick: So then you make your way to America and you go to Yale. Did that change you? Did the Velvet Revolution shape the person you are today?


Jakub Rehor: Yale was a wonderful experience. You are surrounded with a lot of bright, talented driven people and it's it was a great environment to encourage you to go and and pursue whatever interests you have.


Jason Raznick: So from Yale, did you go right to your first job?


Jakub Rehor: Yep. Went straight to McKinsey. Spent a couple of years at McKinsey doing consulting at various places.


Jason Raznick: What kind of companies were you consulting for at McKinsey?


Jakub Rehor: It was a very interesting batch of companies. My first client was a, it was an online service, actually, one of the first online services.


This was before internet really caught on. So in those days you had the three companies, CompuServe, Prodigy, and AOL, and they had a strategic issue. What do we do about this internet thing? Are we just gonna ignore it? Because we have much content on our own network or are we going to take this bet that over the long-term the content that's available on the internet is going to be better than what we have inside our network.


And okay. If you decide to take that bet what does it mean? What kind of technology do we have to build? How do we connect our customers with that? How do we do our marketing? It was really interesting times. It was the early days of the internet.



Jason Raznick: Is that something that you were striving towards?


Jakub Rehor:  It's like basically whatever I did, I couldn't get away from the internet and the technology. It just follows you everywhere.


Jason Raznick: Then you left McKinsey. And is that when you went to Marty Whitman's Third Avenue?


Jakub Rehor: Not directly, at first I went to Sanford Bernstein. Then I went to Putnam Investments and then I ended up at Third Avenue. So I actually started doing value investing at Sanford Bernstein. I was an equity analyst and then worked my way up through being more senior, all the way to PM level at the Third Avenue.


And so I spent a long time analyzing balance sheets, analyzing companies, analyzing businesses and making investments and running portfolio construction, running a managing risk and all that wonderful stuff.


Jason Raznick: So at Third Avenue, we came all the way to PM. How many people were there at Third Avenue?


Jakub Rehor: At the time it was about 100 people, about 20 people were in the research department or in the investment.


Jason Raznick: What made you want to go from McKinsey to Wall Street?


Jakub Rehor: The best part of working at McKinsey was doing the strategy, research and thinking longer term, the hardest part of working McKinsey was doing cost cutting.


So one of the studies I was on was that a electrical utility where, they had a capital budget that it was getting a little bit out of control and you had to go in there and start cutting expenses. So you would go and identify the projects that needed to be shut down. And that's it's pretty stressful situation because you talk to people whose jobs are linked directly to these projects.


So they know that if this project gets canned, they may have no future of the company. So they will, they try to fight really hard to preserve it. So you end up in this like hand to hand combat where you fighting against the people you're trying to help. It's quite stressful. And it wasn't all that enjoyable.


Going into Wall Street and equity investing is very much like becoming a strategy specialist, right? You're thinking about longer-term issues. You spend a lot of time researching what's going on, but luckily you don't have to go there and actually do the hard things that are required to run a business.


Jason Raznick: So then you start researching this crypto space. And is that when you're like your co-founders you got ready to create lucky Labs?


Jakub Rehor: Yeah, that was pretty much around 2017, early 2018.

So my co-founders: One of them came from investment banking and private equity. He was actually the CEO of Lehman Brothers, North American Equity Sales. So he's very familiar with that side of the business, with things like prime brokerage execution, operations, all that stuff. And the other co-founder is a technology specialist and he started his career working at JP Morgan, working on their foreign exchange trading desk.


When it first became automated in the early 1990s and his latest project before we started Lucy Labs was he was a consultant for ISDA, which you may be familiar, it is the is the organization that regulates over the counter derivatives trading. And they had a long project stemming from the financial crisis in which they are forcing over the counter traders to put up margin.


Historically OTC trades were done without a margin. Which led to problems when Lehman Brothers blew up. And the ISDA, a margin project went on for several years to create the methodology, to calculate margin requirements for any derivative ever traded anywhere in the world. So you can imagine that was a huge project. And our co-founder Rob was was the lead consultant.



Jason Raznick: What are the first two things you did Lucy Labs?


Jakub Rehor: The first thing was let's figure out what works here. This is a completely new market that we don't know anything about, which is very exciting. A little bit scary too. So we rolled up our sleeves and start figuring out how to do execution here, how to find investment opportunities, how to get historical data, how to put it all together and roll out to an investment strategy.


And so we did that, we were a prop trading fund for three years, we were doing it with our own. And investigating as much as we could about the market.


Jason Raznick: Are there that work in traditional finance, but don't that don't work in crypto?


Jakub Rehor: So I would say even most things in traditional finance don't really work in crypto. So coming in as a value investor, there's really no value investing in crypto. It's very difficult to figure out intrinsic value for any of these projects. People have tried, we have certainly tried it's a very difficult problem.


And I don't think that anyone has found a way to make it. What does work is a momentum-based strategies. So momentum is something that has worked on all sorts of assets over long periods of history. And so when we started looking at crypto, we had this theory that, it probably will be working in crypto as well.


And we were pleasantly surprised how powerful the momentum factor is within crypto. It is it is actually quite surprisingly powerful. Crypto is very much driven by sentiment by retail trading and a momentum just captures that very well.


Jason Raznick: And this volatility is macro volatility. What do you make of it in the crypto space? The past few weeks?


Jakub Rehor: We've been in this space for 4 years and this is just par for course, this is actually not even particularly. Painful period in the sense that we've lived through the bear market of 2018, we've lived through the 2000, 20, early years in the bear market in 2018.


Just to give you a little comparison, Ethereum was down 95%. From peak to trough in a space of less than a year. That's a very painful situation. Bitcoin was down over 80% peak to trough. So that's what a bear market in crypto looks like. Similarly in 2020 to March, 2020, we went through a 24 hour period in which Bitcoin dropped 50% in 24 hours.


In crypto you have to deal with the volatility. Your models have to take that into account. You cannot be leveraged you, your risk management has to be, on top and you just have to expect that there is a, there is always something scary happening.


Jason Raznick: How do you guys go about trading in crypto?


Jakub Rehor: So we do a bunch of things, so I can describe a few of those things.


Let's talk about the momentum trading. We have a pretty active program in which we take long positions in crypto coins when momentum is positive and we go to cash when momentum turns negative. You look at the recent historical performance and in general, there is an autocorrelation of performance. So things in crypto that have gone up recently have a tendency to keep going up and things that have gone down recently have a tendency to go down. So that's the bet you want to be taking. The downside is you will miss the turning point. So when things start bouncing off a bottom or an instinct, things start rolling at the top.


You're going to miss that, but that's actually over the long-term, that's a price that's beneficial to pay. So we would when there is a bear market in crypto thing, things start selling off, we will generally go into cash. And that's certainly what we've been doing. Most of this year in that our models started putting us into cash towards the end of last year, towards the beginning of this year.


And we were almost completely in cash for the past month or so.


And you don't necessarily even need a very elaborate models, any sort of trend model will tell you to get out of the market over the past month or so.


Jason Raznick: Okay. So then how do you know when to get in?


Jakub Rehor: You wait, you miss the bottom. You see the market turning around, you see the price momentum picking up, and then you jump back on with the expectation that you will probably get in 10 or 15% above the bottom price. But again, in the longterm, that's a very good trade-off to take.


Jason Raznick: So are you guys getting back in now?


Jakub Rehor: No, we're still waiting for things to stabilize.


Jason Raznick: When do you think that will be?


Jakub Rehor: One thing I've learned is not to try to predict the markets. it's way too hard. So I, I have no idea when this will turn is there more downside it's possible? Again, in 2018, we've seen 85 to 90% drawdowns in crypto. So it's certainly possible is that what's going to happen? I have no idea. We're going to, we're going to let our models tell us when to get in.


Jason Raznick: Are you in straight cash or are you doing stable coins? How do you handle that?


Jakub Rehor: There are a number of things you can do in the crypto market if you want to be market neutral. There are strategies that you can do to generate returns. So I can mention a few of them.


So one is a trade in crypto that does have a counterpart in traditional markets. And it's called a Basis Trade. The idea here is you may have a derivative, let's say a future that's trading at a different price from the underlying, so you can have a future on Bitcoin trading at a premium to the spot price of Bitcoin.


And a simple trade is you can go short the future. You can buy the underlying spot and at the future expiration, that gap is going to close. And you're going to collect that spread. So that's the traditional basis trade that works in traditional markets. People do this in US treasuries and commodities and all sorts of things. But it also works in crypto and in crypto, there's actually a slightly, different version of this.


The dominant product in crypto trading is a Perpetual Swap, which looks a little bit like a future, but it has no expiration. And the way the mechanism works is that when there is a difference between the derivative price and the underlying price, there's a funding rate that goes from one side to the other.


When the derivative is more expensive than the spot, the people who are long are paying people who are short. So you can put a short position in the perpetual swap. You can put a long position in the spot and collect the funding rates. And that's a trait that historically has been providing returns of about 10% to 15% per year. There are periods when it makes more money than that. When there is a lot of speculative excitement and speculative mania we have seen it book 30%, 40% annualized. And then there are times when people are running away from the market and you will be generating maybe 0% or low single digits.


Jason Raznick: I personally put some money in stable coins, USDC right? What you were describing is too complicated for me, I won't understand.


Jakub Rehor: Stable coins is a safe place to be when things start falling apart. But of course, stable coins, it's a minefield as well. There are multiple kinds of stable coins. There's the very simple kind of, that works like a money market fund in traditional finance. There it's a fully backed by reserves and the stable coin is just a token. It works like a share in the underlying fund. And the fund hopefully is fully collateralized and it always has a 100% of its assets in cash or cash like products. So USDC is a great example of that, right? That's a that's a stable coin that's fully backed.


Jason Raznick: Would you say USDC is very safe?

Jakub Rehor: I would. I would put also USDT with USDC. So people think that USDT is an algorithmic stable coin, but it's not. It's exactly the same idea as USDC. They are also backed by reserves. they started disclosing their reserves and the composition of their reserves. So you can look at their statements and figure out what. How well back they are and how much confidence you can have in them. So USDT is actually a fully backed stable coin and it's not subject to the same problem that the algorithmic stable coins have.


Algorithmic stable coins are completely different. And there are really two kinds. You could imagine a situation where you do not have US dollar reserves backing you, but you can have crypto reserves backing the dollar peg value of your stable coin.


Because crypto is so volatile. What you need to have is you need to be over collateralized, right? If you're issuing $1 worth of stable coins, you probably want to have at least $2 worth of crypto backing you because if crypto falls down 50% you are still fully backed.


So over collateralized, stable coins are, they're not necessarily that great because crypto can fall more than 50%, but at least it's a reasonable stab at approaching this problem. There's a whole, another class of algorithmic stable coins that are under collateralized. So they issue $1 worth of liabilities and they have less than $1 worth of assets, and that is crazy stuff. And those are bound to blow up. And Terra USD was definitely one of those where they were under collateralized. They issued billions of dollars worth of the pegged stable coin. And the mechanism that they had was saying if a lot of people come in and try to convert to US Dollar at parody, we have these other things that that we can print unlimited amounts off, and we're going to print this thing and we're going to sell it. And that way we'll generate the value for the stable coin, which obviously is insane because when you have a run on the bank when you have a run on the stable coin, the value of the stuff that you are printing is starting to collapse so you have to keep printing more and more to generate the same amount of value. And you end up diluting that second asset to zero and you end up breaking the peg. Terra USD is not the first one where it happened. There was a bunch of other ones in the past. It is absolutely amazing to me that people keep falling for this. But here we are, people put tens of billions of dollars into this.


Jason Raznick: What do you think got people so into it?


Jakub Rehor: There's the old saying in the markets, "Bulls make money, bears make money, and pigs get slaughtered." People just got really piggish. These 20% yields sound amazing.

I think that a lot of people did understand that these yields are unsustainable and they are they were funded by the VC investors or the launch of funds that that Luna the project behind the stable coins raised.

So they understood that these 20% yields wouldn't last, but they thought, I'll just collect them for as long as I can and get out. And, as we know, getting out is the hard part.


Jason Raznick: Getting out is the hard part. And so when you're in cash, do you guys do just say "Hey, I'm going to buy some USDC"?

Jakub Rehor: Sure, we do that.

Jason Raznick: What about Terra Luna?

Jakub Rehor: No, forget it. Nothing algorithmic. We wouldn't feel comfortable with that.

There is actually an interesting innovation going on, so I would say. There is one potential new kind of algorithmic stable coin. That is interesting to watch. It's tiny. It's still an experiment. We'll see if the experiment is successful or not. But the idea is similar to what I just described about the basis trade, right? So when you have a basis trade, you sell a derivative and you buy the underlying spot. What do you actually generate is like a synthetic stable coin. You create a synthetic dollar that. And there are people out there who are trying to generate to create synthetic dollars exactly. By doing this, by putting these offsetting positions on the derivatives and the spot markets, and they're doing it on decentralized exchanges. So that is an interesting idea because it's not really subject to the same risk that the traditional algorithmic stable coins are because even in Iran, you should be able to liquidate both sides and and be able to defend the peg.


Now. It's still early days. There's only, I think few million dollars experimenting with this approach. And a lot of this depends on the infrastructure outside of these folks control. If you are issuing a stable coin like that, you need fairly liquid markets in the derivatives that you use to back this up, those markets have to provide a 24 / 7 availability. You have to be able to withdraw money fairly quickly. So the infrastructure really needs to be there. And the danger is that we are still too early and the infrastructure cannot support that. But it's a very interesting.


Jason Raznick: And are you guys trying to get involved with these experiments or are you just watching it?


Jakub Rehor: We're watching at this point and cheering on from the sidelines.


The whole crypto space is a thousand experiments right now.

Jason Raznick: Do you think there should be more regulation in the crypto space?

Jakub Rehor: Regulation is coming, there is no doubt about it. Regulation makes sense when the market is a little bit more mature and it becomes obvious what is the right thing to do and what is not the right thing to do.


Regulators are not really equipped to know upfront. What is a good idea and what is a bad idea. And right now, you see a lot of the regulators around the world, including the US stepping back and trying to figure out what the heck is going on. What should we allow? What should we not allow? And that allows the space to do a lot of experimentation and sort of by learning, we're going to discover what is a good idea and what we should just. Let it happen again.

I think algorithmic stable coins is a very dangerous idea and we're getting a lot of evidence for that. And I think the regulation is going to clamp down on that. At the same time, fully backed, reserved stable coins are sailing through this crisis pretty well and I think the regulation again should reflect that and encourage that sort of product as opposed to the more algorithmic ones.


Jason Raznick: Who is Lucy?


Jakub Rehor: Our CTO came up with that. There was a fairly famous fossil form of the early human, like before humans really evolved to become modern humans. And it's so it's it hearkens to that. It's like early steps in this new world that is being that is developing in front of us.


Jason Raznick: What else does Lucy Labs do?

Jakub Rehor: So we have a blog on Medium we just launched, a blog talking about crypto products. The first post specifically talks about perpetual swaps. The history of them. It's a product that's unique to crypto doesn't really have an exact equivalent in traditional finance. So we spend a little bit of time explaining how it works and what are the tricky things to be aware of working with that. And we're really enjoying that. So I think we'll be doing a lot more to have that.


Jason Raznick: What are perpetual swaps?

Jakub Rehor: So perpetual swaps it's super interesting. It's a version of a future. Traditional futures of an expiration. So usually every three months or so the future expires and it's settled either with the underlying or it gets settled in cash. And when the crypto exchanges started taking off, that was the product that they offered and they discovered that retail investors actually had a real trouble.

managing Futures, the managing the expirations. People would forget that, third, Friday in June or whatever is the expiration date. And they would log into their account once every two weeks. And one day they would log into their account and their position was gone and they will be like, oh my God, what's happening.

The traditional futures turned out to be not a great fit for crypto. So a number of exchanges started experimenting and one of them called Bitmax which was based in Hong Kong in those days they played with different things. They tried to shorten the futures to have expiration every 48 hours then every 24 hours. And finally they decided what if we never expire this thing? Just make it perpetual. Then the issue you have, how do you make sure that the swap price doesn't drift away completely from the underlying, if you don't have expiration that will force those two prices to converge, how do you make sure they don't just, it just doesn't walk off into space.


And the innovation they came up with is they first started thinking of referencing some outside interest rate that would and you were to charge the people who were on the wrong side of the trade. So if the future was too expensive they would charge people who were long. And the question is, how do you set an interest rate in crypto, like what is the Bitcoin interest rate? There's really no good answer for that. So they decided let's just generate it from the price itself. Let's just look at the difference between the price of the swap and the price of the underlying. And let's charge that difference.


That will force people who are long to be paying a lot of money and hopefully it will incentivize them to close the position and sell the long position, which will force it back to the equilibrium price. And when they first came up with that, nobody knew if it would work or not. It was a real experiment. It was a kind of stab in the dark. And in the first 6 months, it was pretty hairy. The prices were all over the place. The swap price was drifting away from their underlying and it was a little bit chaotic, but after about six months ARPS figured out how to play this game and over the past 2 or 3 years, that market has really matured and it became the predominant way of trading crypto outside of the US. The perpetual swap markets are anywhere on the order of 5 to 10 times greater than the underlying spot markets.


Jason Raznick: One of the things you mentioned earlier with Marty Whitman, you are an investigator and you're looking for opportunities to companies and you can value, invest and see stuff that people aren't seeing. Is this similar to that?


Jakub Rehor: It's very similar. It's again, you're being a detective and you constantly ask questions like what's going on and why? The way we really wrapped our head around the perpetual swaps was we were taking regular positions in the spot markets, and then we saw liquidity as much better in the perpetual swap so why not start trading that we started trading that. We're getting hit with these funding costs. And we're like, oh, we hate paying these funding rates. Hear me out. What if we start collecting them instead? How would you go about it? And very quickly we figured out, okay, you can create the synthetic position and do this.


And yeah, you stay, you learn by doing. The way you discover these opportunities, you are active in the space. You trade, you do experiments and you discover things that you didn't realize were happening and you'll find new opportunities all the time.


And we'll help amplify your blog and get people to get the word out.


Jason Raznick: What advice do you have for crypto investors?


Jakub Rehor: I would say with retail investors, crypto is a very risky, very volatile asset space. You do want to be in it longer term, but be aware that these 80% drawdowns are happening and are likely to happen for the foreseeable future.


So position sizing is the most important thing you need to worry about. If things get really tough. Can I survive this, don't put on too big a position and definitely do not put on leverage. Retail investors tend to get in trouble with too much leverage on their positions.


But longer term. Crypto is very likely to be around for a long time. And learning about it is best done by trading and being active in the market. Be there and trade it. But keep it Small enough that you can afford the pain of the downturn, similar to what we're seeing today.


for institutional investor, my advice is slightly different. I would still say you should be experimenting in this market. The interesting thing is the infrastructure for trading that's being built in crypto markets is, I would say a hundred years ahead of what's in the traditional markets that you are used to, the efficiency and effectiveness of the trading platforms is going to absolutely steamroll, the traditional trading venues.


And I would recommend to start learning about how things work there so that when it happens, you'll be prepared. I'll give you an example, the huge difference between a traditional infrastructure and the crypto infrastructure in traditional infrastructure. Let's say you trade futures and the way you to say you're trading futures on wheat, for example.


So you have to put up a margin and at the end of each day, your position is marked to market and the exchange calculates any additional margin that's needed. And you have until the next morning to come up with the cash to keep the position. OIn that period between the calculation of the margin and depositing of the cash, the exchanges that.


If you actually go bankrupt, the exchange may not be able to collect. And, they have a fund to insure them against that. But it is a real business risk for the exchange, which is why they set the margins very high. To live with having that risk on their balance sheet.


So the size of the margin is a function of the payment cycle and the settlement cycle. In traditional finance, the settlement cycle has to be at least 24 hours because the traditional payment rails take 24 hours to get, your payment from your bank to the exchange or the broker.


So by nature, they cannot offer high leverage in the products that they. Just because of the settlement counterparty risk issue.

You go to crypto exchanges and you realize that they have the recalculate, the margins at a much higher frequency. The exchange. I mentioned BitMax, actually, they started recalculating margin on every tick.


So every trade happens, they go and go through a million accounts that they have and recalculate the margin requirements immediately. So they don't have that 24 hour delay for them to be at risk, they can liquidate positions much faster than that. Because of that they can lower their margin requirements. And some of these guys used to offer a 100 times leverage. Thankfully they reduced that now, but you can still get 20 to 25 times leverage on your crypto positions. The exchanges can afford to do that without putting themselves at risk because of this much faster settlement cycle that they have available.


Now, if you are an institutional trader and you doing things like hedging, you're doing things like arbitrage. Where do you want to execute? You obviously want to execute at the place with lower margin requirements because you'll have a better capital efficiency. You'll have a higher return on capital.


So liquidity is likely to stay at these crypto exchanges that have the newer techniques. And we're seeing that clearly in, for example, the Bitcoin futures market. CME rolled out its Bitcoin futures product in December, 2017. So it's four years now. And they only have about 5% market share in global Bitcoin futures trading, which is amazing.


CME is leading venue for derivatives trading. How come they cannot get more market share than that? And the response is because of the, how slow their settlement cycle is. They are requiring 35% margin for any Bitcoin position while the crypto exchanges, they may ask for 3 to 5% margin for the same position.


So again, as an institutional investor, you'll be better off trading on these new exchanges.

Now these guys, the crypto exchanges are coming into the US so right now, there is a hearing in front of the Congress Senate Agriculture Committee. And and there is a application with the CFTC in which FTX, which is one of the leading crypto exchanges is trying to bring this 24/ 7 trading in commodities with instant margin calculation, and an instant settlement so T plus 0 seconds. If this gets approved and really, there's no reason why it shouldn't be it needs to work its way through the regulatory process, but if this gets approved and you will get a fully regulated exchange with these parameters, can you imagine what that's going to do with people like CME?

The reason CME is doing things this way is that's how you did it in 1868. When you were started, when you literally had a guy, in the morning, run to the bank with a check. And deposited with the clerk on the exchange at 7:30 AM. And if the check wasn't there by 8:30 AM, the positions would be liquidated that's and it's baked into all of their systems.


They are, it will not be easy for them to upgrade their system to be able to compete with this.

Jason Raznick: Do you personally buy Bitcoin or were you an early investor in Bitcoin?


Jakub Rehor: Oh yeah, way too early. I bought my first Bitcoin back in 2013 or something like that. It was $14. I was down 80% within a month of my purchase. So yeah, it was a small amount of money.

Jason Raznick: Do you have a favorite crypto coin?


Jakub Rehor: I'm still partial of the Bitcoin, my first love.


Jason Raznick: The last one is what's your worst or your first job? That's a question I always ask.


Jakub Rehor: I did all sorts of things. I painted houses. I work in the fields. I worked in bakeries. So it's a very wide range of things and honestly, they're all fine. I think any job is what you make from it. What you make of it. You can learn a lot of from just painting a house.


Jason Raznick: And if people want to check you out, where should they go?


Jakub Rehor: We are at


Jason Raznick: Thank you for coming on the RazReport. We appreciate it.


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