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- Jump Trading is making crypto a big focus in 2018 for its venture capital spin-off Jump Capital in 2018.
- An innovation lab based at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is playing a role in the firms’ crypto efforts.
Jump Trading is making cryptocurrency a big focus for its venture capital spin-off in 2018, and is bringing in college kids as part of the effort.
The secretive Chicago-based trading firm actively trades digital currencies, while Jump Capital, a venture capital investor, has put money into a number of crypto infrastructure companies.
Both Jump Trading and Jump Capital are behind a lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and it’s a key part of their crypto efforts.
Jump Labs, which has been in existence for a few years but hasn’t yet been reported on, brings in personnel from Jump Trading and Jump Capital, students, professors, and post-docs to work on cutting edge research for Jump and its portfolio companies. Some students are working on projects relating to cryptocurrency.
Peter Johnson, the go-to crypto guy at Jump Capital, told Business Insider that cryptocurrency will be an even bigger focus for the firm in 2018. Johnson was recently named to Business Insider’s list of cryptocurrency pioneers.
Those projects are tackling questions such as “how do you issue securities onto the blockchain” and “how can we improve trading,” Johnson said.
A best case scenario for those crypto-project is for them to become independent companies.
“We want it to be a launch pad,” Johnson said.
In addition to the lab, Johnson said Jump Capital is looking to invest in more cryptocurrency companies.
“We are invested in a few companies,” he said. “But it’s going to be a big focus going forward.”
A number of trading firms have dove into the crypto space include DV Trading, Hehmeyer Trading, Virtu Financial, and Jane Street.
These companies, which make more money trading in volatile markets, have been attracted to the spine-tingling price moves in crypto markets, a space where 20% dips are par for the course.
Arbitrage opportunities in crypto have been particularly mouth-watering. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can trade at wildly different prices on any given exchange, giving traders the opportunity to buy low on one venue to then sell high on another.