Susquehanna International Group, an American global trading company has announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange to trade in bitcoin. The company, which is based in Philadelphia, is one of the biggest investment firms in the world and for a long period, it has dealt in ETFs, options, stocks plus other conventional investment products.

Private trading desk

Before the official announcement, the company is said to have been silently facilitating over-the-counter (OTC) trade of cryptocurrencies for the last two years.  Over the past two years, the privately-held company had established a trading desk for buying and selling of cryptocurrencies through private deals. The company now intends to roll out the services to a small group of clients that it currently has. The aim is to have its client base expanded in the future.

In a statement, Bart Smith, head of Susquehanna’s digital asset group, the blockchain technology plus the accompanying asset class are changing several aspects of financial services and going by the momentum with which it is growing, it is clear that it is here to stay. Smith noted that the company views bitcoin mainly as a store of value. He added that in the near future, either bitcoin or any other digital currency will become the internet native currency.

In addition to targeting the future of bitcoin, the company says it will facilitate buying and selling of other digital currencies like bitcoin cash and ether among others. Susquehanna is registered with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a brokerage company hence it will be allowed to facilitate exchange of digital currencies which are classified as securities by the SEC.

The cryptocurrency sector is increasingly attracting institutional investors

The decision by Susquehanna to launch a cryptocurency exchange is one of the latest evidence that the sector is attracting large-scale institutional investors. Earlier reports that had indicated that Goldman Sachs, one of the largest investment banks in the world had launched a blockchain futures product for its customers. The report further indicated that the bank is warming to launch trading of “physical bitcoin” in the near future. Leading financial exhanges NYSE and NASDAQ have also hinted at adding crypto exchange to their platforms.