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London forex venue launches cryptocurrency exchange for institutional investors

U.K. foreign exchange venue LMAX Ltd., which trades as LMAX Exchange, has launched a cryptocurrency exchange in London dedicated to institutional clients.

The exchange, which will be called LMAX Digital, has plans to expand to the U.S. and Japan. LMAX said May 21 it has institutional clients in more than 100 countries.

The exchange, which is regulated by the FCA, will offer trading in what LMAX said were the five most liquid established cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash.

Clients will be able to trade 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The exchange will be regulated by similar rules and principles as the FCA-regulated multilateral trading facilities, or MTFs, which are typically smaller, electronic alternative exchanges.

LMAX said it hopes it the new exchange will be a step toward legitimizing virtual currencies which enjoy little regulation in most parts of the world.

LMAX CEO David Mercer said: "We believe our new exchange will support the transformation of the crypto market from the fringes to the mainstream ... Exchanges will play a crucial role in bringing the major crypto currencies into wider circulation, helping them to become accepted into conventional funds which in turn will help to support a normalization of value."