Ken Griffin and friends are entering the crypto world very soon — investors are concerned as Citadel has a history of several violations and fines.
EDX Markets plans to bring ‘traditional finance’ to the crypto space, a not so ‘traditional’ space to begin with.
The exchange made up of Citadel, Sequoia, Paradigm, Virtu, Charles Schwab, and Fidelity is debuting in November.
EDX Markets will start trading a limited number of spot, crypto tokens starting with a November trial period, with the official launch in January, per Bloomberg.
Similar to trading equities and options, EDX will allow investors to buy and sell digital assets through their existing broker dealer, rather than an outside venue or directly through a crypto-native exchange.
“We’re taking some of the best features of traditional finance and bringing it to the digital markets to make it more efficient, and bring that cost saving to investors,” Nazarali said.
Nazarali is the former global head of business development at Citadel Securities.
But as many are aware, these financial institutions have a long history of playing unfair.
Will these sharks taint the crypto space too?
Let’s look at Citadel’s market manipulation history as well as other Citadel violations and fines in the past.
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Citadel Market Manipulation
In 2015, an account operated in China by the brokerage arm of US hedge fund Citadel was suspended.
It was the latest casualty of regulators’ hunt for market manipulators and short sellers at the time.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission said that the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges had suspended 24 accounts as part of a probe into high-frequency trading.
The investigation focused on a practice known as “spoofing” in which an investor submits a buy or sell order but then withdraws it before a sale is completed — a practice that can mislead investors by creating the false impression that a stock is trading at a particular price.
Citadel confirmed that one of its accounts managed by Guosen Futures was among those suspended.
In 2017 Citadel was fined by the SEC $22.6 million to settle charges of misleading conduct.
The hedge fund misled customers about the way it priced trades.
The SEC found that between 2007 and 2010, Citadel used two algorithms to execute stock trades on customers’ behalf that gave investors a worse price for their trades, even when Citadel knew better prices existed elsewhere.
“This affected millions of retail orders,” said Stephanie Avakian, the acting director of enforcement at the SEC at the time.
Citadel neither admitted nor denied the findings.
In 2021, Failure-to-Delivers (FTDs) rose dramatically in the period leading up to January 28th, 2021, a phenomenon consistent with increasing short interest by market makers such as Citadel Securities.
FTDs are indictive of naked short selling, which occurs when a short seller does not actually possess the security it is supposed to borrow.
This practice is largely inaccessible to individual investors but accessible to market makers.
At the time, Citadel, Robinhood, and others restricted retail investors from buying ‘meme stocks’ in order to prevent escalating institutional losses.
Citadel eventually lost billions after betting against AMC Entertainment in 2021.
But the entire system needs a refresh – The DTCC waived a total of $9.7 billion of collateral deposit requirements on January 28, 2021, saving brokers, and screwing up retail investors.
The Chicago Tribune published a piece explaining exactly what retail investors have been warning the SEC about.
Citadel Securities’ dark pool dominates a big part of the financial world, accounting for as much as half of U.S. stock market activity.
The Chicago Tribune says this prominent dark pool is run by Chicago Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities and has been targeting small scale retail investors.
And they’re not wrong.
Dark pools are typically involved in payment for order flow (PFOF), where they pay broker firms to receive retail order flow.
Brokers such as Robinhood and TD Ameritrade accept payment for order flow.
But retail investors have been bringing these nefarious practices in the market to light.
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