Belgian crypto company refuels millions despite crisis

Belgian crypto market maker Keyrock raises $72 million despite the crypto winter. It aims to become one of the largest financial institutions in the world, specializing in providing liquidity to digital asset markets.

Keyrock was founded in Brussels in 2017 by Kevin de Patoul, Jeremy De Groodt and Juan David Mendieta. It has offices in the UK and employs over 100 people. The company is active on more than 85 marketplaces where, among other things, crypto coins are traded and uses its own algorithms to enable more liquid trading in crypto assets. “We want to fully capitalize on the global digital asset markets and become one of the largest financial institutions in the world,” says de Patoul.



The fall of FTX shows that extreme centralization and lack of oversight do not go well together.

Kevin dePatoul

CEO of Keyrock

The company raises $72 million through a series B financing (a funding round for start-ups that already have stable revenue). The crypto-fintech company Ripple is involved, the venture capitalist SIX FinTech Ventures of the Swiss stock exchange SIX and the Luxembourg fintech investor Middlegame Ventures are involved. The capital operation is led by Ripple, which has been a Keyrock customer for three years. Ripple will remain a minority shareholder and will not be assigned an operational role.

The essence

  • The Belgian Keyrock raises 72 million dollars.
  • The company is growing despite the headwinds for the crypto sector. It developed a system that constantly proposes buy and sell prices for crypto coins on dozens of markets and trades at lightning speed.
  • Keyrock opens offices in London and moves to Zurich, Singapore and the US.
  • The money raised will be used for investments in technology and employees and for obtaining licenses.

The crypto winter seems to spare the Brussels company. “We are developing slowly and steadily. Decisions about technology, commercial approach and risk management are made with a long-term perspective,’ says de Patoul. “After we founded the company in 2017, the market collapsed, but we have always continued to grow.”

Keyrock provides buy and sell prices in markets for digital assets such as crypto coins. The company makes money on the ‘spread’, the difference between the buy and sell price. In doing so, the company runs various risks. For example, Keyrock has money outstanding on the bankrupt FTX. “We have a strict counterparty policy and were able to withdraw most of our money, but not all of it. The amount is limited and had no impact on our operations,” said the CEO. He deduces from the decline of FTX that extreme centralization and a lack of supervision do not go together.

Grow

Keyrock prides itself on being a “preferred liquidity partner” of over 85 crypto marketplaces. In the past year, it expanded to 200 new markets, with trading volume in euros tripling while the global market contracted by 50 to 60 percent. By ‘markets’, Keyrock means that a crypto coin is traded against another crypto coin on a certain market, for example bitcoin against euros on the Kraken market or bitcoin against euros on the Bitstamp marketplace. Keyrock’s system receives up-to-date price information on the marketplaces where it is active, with access to the entire order book. The system can place orders very quickly.

With the extra financial strength, the activities are expanded. De Patoul looks at the markets for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), tradable certificates of ownership on a blockchain. Also of interest are the OTC private markets where crypto is traded outside of established marketplaces and derivatives on digital assets.



Our system must be robust and very fast at the same time.

Kevin dePatoul

CEO of Keyrock

The company continues to invest in technology. “Our system has to be very robust and very fast at the same time, and it has to be able to handle markets with high volumes and markets with less trade.” Investments remain necessary as innovation in digital asset markets is faster than in traditional markets. De Patoul sees classic markets switching to the decentralized technology of the crypto markets in the coming years. “A Solvay share is liquid on the stock exchange. But what if I want to sell a portion of such stock directly to you on Sunday?’ Blockchain technology is a solution for him and Keyrock wants to be active in these new markets.

Licenses

Keyrock requires licenses from regulators for certain activities. De Patoul expects more regulation in the future. He thinks that is a good thing, but the company does foresee investments for the necessary permits.

In addition to the London office, there will also be offices in Zurich and Singapore. The US is also on the list. The company aims to double its workforce to 200 within the next 12 months. ‘The presence in different time zones is important. Digital asset trading never stops.”

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