Wall Street Comes To Crypto Street, Bringing Financial Technologies To Cryptocurrency Markets, Alexander Kravets
It was late Spring 2017 that Alexander Kravets first stumbled over cryptocurrency. Driving around looking for a real estate deal, a news item flashed up on his phone. It said that Ether had jumped from $80 to $130 in a matter of weeks. Intrigued Kravets had no idea what Ether was and so he rang around his friends, his trading friends, he even rang Deutsche bank but no one knew there either.
‘It was a seminal moment,’ recounts Kravets. ‘I started trading cryptocurrency the following week but it was painful. I mean it took a whole week to even open up a trading account.’
Why is this important? Well, Kravets’ early career reads a bit like The Wolf of Wall Street. While at college he got a part time job as a day trader. He got up at 6am, travelling ninety minutes to Flushing Queens outside New York and worked from 9am until 4pm, at which point he went to college not finishing until 10pm at night. This went on for some seven months with little or no success. He was threatened with firing, which as a student, did not bother him overmuch, until he got the hang of it and started making money.
‘The next twelve years saw me progress up the ladder,’ he says. ‘I was successful at trading, but I also got promoted to lots of other roles including management, training, software development (his degree is in computer science), support and sales.’
He got tired of working for the man and set up his own as an independent trader four years ago, again successfully, when he stumbled over cryptocurrency.
‘There were, and still are, huge impediments to trade effectively in cryptocurrency,’ he says. ‘For starters there are about 60 exchanges in total, albeit that the top twenty are the most liquid. But as many exchanges have been built by blockchain experts and not trading developers it is very hard to open accounts and execute effectively with most.
‘On one occasion the account opening process involved me taking a picture of a proof of identify in one hand and a signed declaration in the other — while at the same time taking a picture of myself — I only have two hands,’ he laughs.
‘Other issues include timing. There can be huge latency between the exchanges, making arbitrage very difficult; firstly to spot the opportunity and then to close it out in time. There can be a lot…