CryptoSlate recently had the opportunity to chat with Rosh Singh, the CEO and Co-Founder of Quadency, a New York-based technology startup building digital asset trading and portfolio management tools for retail and institutional investors.
Singh is a seasoned technology entrepreneur experienced in creating innovation fintech products for FX and crypto markets.
In the interview, we discussed why Singh started Quadency, the benefits of using a crypto trading terminal and the challenging of building a good user experience for crypto traders.
What is your professional background and how/when did you get into crypto?
Rosh Singh (RS): Before starting Quadency, I was leading technology and engineering efforts at Learnvest, a personal financial planning platform that was acquired by Northwestern Mutual. Before that, I spent over a decade in the retail FX trading space as the co-founder of FX Junction – a social trading platform connecting 200+ brokers worldwide. I came across Bitcoin around 2011 while researching the markets and I was instantly intrigued by its design and promise. I didn’t, however, start trading Bitcoin or crypto until much later due to the lack of established markets at the time.
Tell us about why you decided to start Quadency?
RS: Coming from a background in FX, I participated in the crypto bull run of 2017 as a speculator/trader. I was amazed to see that despite all the buzz and hype around blockchain and crypto, very little had changed in the 6 years I had been following the space when it comes to user experience and professional tools for traders. As I dug deeper, I found promises after promises, but very little substance. Tokens were being issued and new exchanges opened up almost daily, but no one was paying attention to what the traders wanted. So we made it our mission to fix that by building a better trading platform that combines design and performance without sacrificing features and most importantly, security.
Where is your team located and why did you choose that jurisdiction?
RS: Our team is based in New York City and the company is incorporated in the state of Delaware, a somewhat standard practice for several US industries, including fin-tech. As a technology company with an amazing engineering culture and strategic partnerships in the space, NYC was a natural fit. With more global crypto startups opening New York offices and Wall St moving further into the space, we see an even stronger local ecosystem ahead.
What are some of Quadency’s notable achievements or milestones?
RS: I often hear from outsiders that we seem to be flying under the radar, and that has some truth to it, but only because we’ve been far more focused on building and listening to our users. In under 18 months with a small team, we went from just an idea to a robust, professional-grade multi-exchange trading terminal with a suite of built-in tools for portfolio monitoring, strategy automation, and market research and news. All of this came in phases, which were executed at speeds unheard of in this space and without any compromises for user experience or security – the two most crucial elements that define everything we do. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and even more excited about what’s coming next, as I believe the industry as a whole will benefit from the new tools we are building.
What are the benefits of using Quadency’s as opposed to other digital asset trading terminals?
RS: It all starts with user experience. The first thing you’ll notice is how easy to use and intuitive the platform is, and it has to be if we are to unify this fragmented space under one roof. We pride ourselves on quality over quantity and in that vein, we may not have support for all 100+ exchanges (we currently support top 10), but trading on them through the terminal is fast, robust and secure.
Our portfolio visualization tools are a nice bonus most traders aren’t used to seeing elsewhere and I think they’re a priceless addition to the platform as it gives our users insights into their trading behavior and patterns at a glance.
Trading on the terminal is a breeze as you can place and visualize trades right on the charts. Similarly, we’ve spent a lot of time and effort in thinking through and building out our strategy automation suite (Quadency Bots). Our approach to automated trading is also different from others in that we are not pushy about forcing people to trade a particular strategy as we don’t believe that to be the right thing to do. We do, however, make a catalog of common strategies available to choose from and allow users easily backtest and run them on any exchange. Advanced users can also build their custom strategies using built-in tools such as Strategy Coder (python) and Strategy Builder (for non-coders).
We believe there are as many ways to trade crypto as there are traders and we want to build valuable tools for as many of them as possible.
What can you tell us about the Quadency product roadmap? What upcoming features are you most excited about rolling out?
RS: We have lots of features as well as strategic partnerships on the roadmap for 2020, and I’m excited by each one of them because many were requested by our users and we appreciate their patience. Some of these include advanced order types (OCO, Trailing Stops, etc), smart order routing (best price execution), automated portfolio rebalancing, and support for DEXs.
What are the biggest challenges of building a crypto trading platform for crypto users?
RS: I would say that the biggest challenge is keeping up with the pace of change in this industry. When we started, ICOs were all the hype, but now the latest rush is towards margin trading, futures, derivatives, lending, and staking. For a unified terminal such as ours, we have to multiply the effort of supporting these additional layers by the number of exchanges offering them. As you can imagine, to do so in a scalable and performant manner is not an easy feat, but if that’s what the users want, we’re up for the challenge.
What other projects and/or blockchain developments are you most excited about?
RS: I believe Libra is revolutionary and will threaten Bitcoin’s existence. Just kidding. I don’t like to point out any specific projects but there’s a ton of work going on right now that will take some time to materialize. Work in the DeFi area is particularly interesting as it’s already starting to show promise and can have some meaningful impact in underserved parts of the world. It’s also exciting to see the likes of Jack Dorsey starting to devote a significant amount of their time to efforts that help not only adoption of cryptocurrencies, but also their image.
Do you have any blockchain and/or crypto predictions for 2020 and beyond?
RS: I believe 2020 will be the year that institutions finally start taking crypto seriously and begin participating beyond dipping their toes. With volumes steadily increasing for Bakkt Bitcoin Futures and more options available for institutional-grade custody solutions, it’s a sign of a maturing industry. Anyone following Wall Street knows that negative interest rates across the globe are becoming a new norm, so with 2020 being an election year, many are expecting volatility in the markets – meaning the “Bitcoin as a safe haven” narrative might again be put to the test. For traders, volatility can mean more opportunities than calm, trending or ranging markets so I’m particularly excited for what’s ahead.
What are the biggest obstacles for the mainstream adoption of crypto?
RS: From my perspective, I can see why the general public is reluctant about using or investing in crypto. When it comes to day-to-day transactions, we still don’t have a clear winner that passes the “coffee” test. There are of course technological reasons for it but the psychological ones are just as important.
People seem to care more about user experience, convenience, and speed rather than being their own bank, paying lower fees or having their transactions live on a public ledger. I think these are solvable problems, however, the biggest challenge is image. Crypto is still largely seen by outsiders (general public) as something people on the fringes of society use to do questionable things – which most certainly isn’t the case. I mean, how many people do you know who own bitcoin? And how many of them use it to commit crime? There needs to be more focus on fixing this image, and I think we’ll get there, but slower than most people within the crypto circles like to believe.
What is your most controversial opinion relating to blockchain and/or cryptocurrency?
RS: I’m not sure if this is all that controversial but here it goes — there are a lot of interesting (weird) people in crypto who command way too much attention simply by the virtue of having amassed some leverage by being early in the space. This attention gives them power and influence which they use to benefit themselves, sometimes at the expense of the masses and their naivete. To get a sense of what I am talking about, go follow some of the most vocal people on crypto twitter and observe the borderline fraud, childish bickering and constant drama that goes on every day. You may be surprised to learn that some of these characters are founders of well-known companies.
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