B2C2 founder Max Boonen on the importance of competition amongst OTC liquidity providers, regulatory risk, and institutional investors

Episode 29 of The Scoop was recorded on Skype with Frank Chaparro, Celia Wan, and Max Boonen, Founder & Director at B2C2, one of the world's largest OTC liquidity providers. Listen below, and subscribe to The Scoop on AppleSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Email feedback and revision requests to [email protected].

Max Boonen is the Founder & Director of B2C2, one of the world's largest OTC liquidity providers. In this conversation Frank and Max discuss:

  • Why Max encourages competition amongst OTC liquidity providers
  • Why Max thinks the institutional investors that matter may already be in the space
  • The importance of accounting for regulatory and customary risk when entering a new market
  • Why the majority of B2C2 clients prefer to trade Tether
  • How B2C2 differentiated itself as a young company

The transcript is provided for your convenience, please excuse any errors or typos resulting from the transcription process:

Frank Chaparro Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining me today on what is going to be a very special episode of the The Scoop. We have Max Boonen in, all the way from London town, Foggy London town, the CEO at B2C2. They are a market-making and electronic market-making and over the counter trading firm. I'm also joined for the first time on the show with my dear colleague Celia Wan. We're excited to dive into all things: market structure, trading, maybe even tell some old war stories from his FX days at Goldman Sachs are very excited. Have you on, Max, thank you so much.

Max Boonen Very glad to be here.

Frank Chaparro I think the best place to start, especially for folks who might not be familiar with B2C2, would be the origin story, right? You guys launched in 2016? 2015. 40 folks at the firm now, just about. There have been some ups and downs along with the cycle of the crypto market. Tell us a little bit about why you started the company back in 2015. What were you looking to achieve and what's it been like? How's that journey looking?

Max Boonen Yeah, the way I started is that I was very lucky when I was 19. I managed to get an internship at Google, and I had no financial background whatsoever. But inside of Google at the time was an internal prediction market. So they had some sort of platform where you could bet on events within Google such as, "Hey, are we going to reach 600 million users for Gmail this quarter?" Things like that. And they wanted to harness the power of, the wisdom of the crowd to really sort of try to be able to predict where they were going. And so I was I was 19, knew nothing about trading, but I created a book to arbitrage that platform. And I became the sort of number one trader on Google's platform. It was very interesting, then I published a paper about it, but when I left, I thought, "Hey, maybe I can make like proper money with this, right?" So I stumbled upon a platform that I think was very popular in the United States called Intrade.com. That's a platform where you could bet on political elections and other things like Academy Awards in the United States, and they managed to predict every single state where it went to between Obama and John McCain. And they did that to two elections in a row in the United States. So it was quite a popular platform. And with my experience at Google, I actually decided to go and try to make markets on Intrade.com, and I became the main market-maker there. So I had a very good run, especially considering I was just a student at the time. And in late 2012, my flatmate (I'd moved to the bank by then) told me, "You know, you should look into that Bitcoin thing with your algorithms. You know, there might be something to do because at the end of the day, you know, you're providing liquidity in some sort of political prediction contracts. There's no underlying fundamental you know, Bitcoin is exactly like that. No fundamental. No one knows how to value it. So maybe your stuff would work." So I did that in late 2012 and I was running that on the side, well, you know, on the side to my day job. And in 2014, I thought -- now I was a fixed income trader. I traded interest rate swaps and FX swaps -- the market was not doing so hot.

Frank Chaparro So in 2014, you're trading, you're making markets on these prediction markets while at the same time--and Bitcoin--working as an FX trader.

Max Boonen Yes. Okay. But the market was not doing great. And I'm talking about conventional markets. You know, the banks were making less and less money. I didn't think I was going to get a very big bonus. And so I picked the last bonus and I resigned to start doing what I was doing during the weekends full-time. But early on, our company had to be fully electronic because I was working, you know, at my day job. So everything had to be automated. And so we've kept that sort of ethos: that everything has to be 24/7, fully automated, very little human intervention because, you know, it was a constraint on our side.

Frank Chaparro Mm hmm. And when you guys came into the market there, most of the trading that was going on was not electronic. How did you enter a world where most folks were engaging via Skype, via phone via telegram to trade, and here you are with your robust infrastructure, you're trying to get people to almost change their behavior in a sense. How did that sort of pan out?

Max Boonen Well, there's two things. So on the one hand, yes, we were one of the first, you know, firms to professionally make markets electronically in crypto. But you have to realize that one of the things that I find extremely interesting about crypto, even though I'm not myself a huge evangelist, is that it's an open playing field. It's open access, right? So back in the day, you had an application in Mongox. People pronounce it different ways. Well Mongox, they had an API that had the website socket you could connect with. And anyone who thought they have some sort of edge, they have some sort of algo they can go and they can trade and connect themselves. They don't need to pay thousands of dollars in fees to the CME or whatever big platform that you're using in the conventional markets. And so I really like that. That's great. That's also why I think, you know, places like Bitmex have been so successful is because of that level playing field, everyone gets the same data. Everyone can run, their algos and the barrier to entry is quite low. Um, now. At the same time, you're also, I think, referring to the OTC market. But the OTC market, I think is a bit of a misnomer. Back in the day, people, when they said OTC, they really meant local bitcoins. And that never made sense to me because you know, local bitcoin is obviously over the counter because it's not on an exchange. But when you ask most traders, what they understand by OTC, it means large institutions trading with one another without going through a venue, trading bilaterally, right? And also clearing, oftentimes, bilaterally. Um, so the OTC market started out as local bitcoin (complete misnomer). Then it became--and that was the big success of of Cumberland and Circle--you know, they turned it into a proper block trading market. But I was a voice market. Voice, meaning, you know, that people trade on the phone, trade on Skype, on telegram and things like that. Um, but the thing is, there was an important need for, uh, for block trades when, for instance, uh, Bitstamp was hacked, I think it was 2014. They were hacked for five million dollars worth of Bitcoin. So when you think about it, those were customer bitcoins. Meaning that they had to replace them. So they had to go out and source those, and it was very difficult at the time to find, you know, 5 million dollars of bitcoin on exchanges. And Bitstamp was one of the main exchanges itself, so they went to an OTC market participants to source that, to source the 5 million. So that's how the market started out. But the way the direction of travel is that everything is going electronic. And that's something that we thought was gonna happen early on at B2C2. That's why in 2016 we rolled out the first as we say "single-dealer platform" in the crypto space, which was basically there is a Website, there's two buttons, you can put in your size, click buy or sell and you get a prize back. But you know, that was innovative at the time, although now, it's basically stable states. If you do not have an entry platform today, people can just trade electronically without talking to you. Then you're not even a player in the market.

Frank Chaparro Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And I think a lot of folks would look at Circle as being an example of what can happen if you don't act quickly enough. And in this market, um, but I'm sure we've seen it in others where people who are late to the party miss out on the punch, right? Talk to me a little bit about what it was like in 2017. You guys were one of the--when I first started reporting on this space--one of the first firms that opened their arms up to me to bring me into this this world of OTC and market-makings. I'm thinking of Kevin Beardsley, in particular, who is now at Kraken, actually. He's jumped around a bit. You guys were doing massive trades at the time. 50 million dollar trades. Hundred million dollar trades. How, when you look back, how did you guys manage such a lean team to, uh, you know, get through all that flow and keep your systems robust and going at all cylinders? 

Max Boonen Well first of all, you know, I want to make it clear that, you know, I don't want to make it seem like we were bigger than we were at the time. I think, yeah, we were running a big operation, but it's not like people were coming every day to do 50 million dollar trades. And in fact, one thing that I think served us is that when people wanted to do very large trades with us, we were very wary of those because I spent some time on the CVA desk, which means the desk that looks at the interaction between credit risk and market risk. So when someone comes in with a 50 million dollar trade in a market that can easily move 10 percent in a day, you know, by the time they trade and you know, before you get to settlement, the market moves 10 percent. They might be looking at the 5 million dollar loss. And I think one reason we're still around, in spite of having, of all the big liquidity providers, historically, we were, we had the smallest balance sheet, smallest balance sheet, because it's mostly a self-funded firm. You know, we didn't raise that much money, and, you know, whereas others raised like hundreds of millions of dollars from large institutions. So historically we were smaller in terms of balance sheet. Now, the problem when you do large trades is that if these people don't pay, it can really blow up, and I think that some of our competitors really suffered from that. You know, they gave, you know, big credit lines to some of their clients who ended up walking away, and that happened specifically in 2018, which was a difficult year for us, for everyone that you know, people that you that used to be, you know, really crypto rich, and, you know, were making a lot of money and were, you know, stable and reliable credits. Their business models started to turn sour and they couldn't pay. Couldn't. They ended up, you know, some of them, defaulting on trades. So when you say we're doing very big trades, I prefer to say that we were doing very large volumes because the big trades themselves, it's not something that we were actively pursuing. And in fact, that's I think, you know, you mentioned some people have found it difficult to adjust. That's actually, that makes perfect sense to me because we are focused on getting the flow from, you know, zero bitcoin to, you know, yes, hundreds of bitcoin clips. But really, there's so much volume in the small trades because it's a region market, a region-driven market, that that's what we're specifically focusing on, right? You know, where some competitors might be today doing like 10, 15 trades a day, we're doing on an average day probably like 10,000, 20,000 OTC trades, all of them electronic, and maybe it's like a handful of both trades every day. So that's something that we actually have actually went after, you know, the smaller trades, because, you know, the buy is actually bigger on that side.

Frank Chaparro In August or rather the summer of 2018, you guys were looking to sell the shop. You guys were having a rough time. I remember when I called you, I was working on the story, and it probably wasn't a standout phone call for you, but for me, it was a hallmark, I think, of my journalism career because I never had a startup CEO respond to something so negative with such frankness and sincerity. You said to me, you know, yeah, I think I reached out, and the story went out in November. But when I reached out to you, you said, "We're not looking to sell anymore, but it was tough, and it was really tough on me." Talk to us a little bit about that bounceback and how are you feeling about the business today?

Max Boonen Perhaps you can put yourself in my shoes. So I said earlier, I'm not a big Bitcoin evangelist. I think it's a very interesting market. So it's really interesting day-to-day to be in this market. But at the end of the day, it's a founder-led startup where most of the money is actually ours. You know, we're not spending other people's money. And so one thing that's extremely important to B2C2 is we have to be profitable, right? And we have been extremely profitable. But in 2018, there was a possibility that, you know, yeah, we could be spending a little bit to have to invest in the future, but not to be profitable, and they say on a month-by-month basis. And that's something that I--it's not my style. That's not something I can live with. And I think that we're seeing a little bit of a backlash against businesses that just spend, spend, spend, and don't seem to have a profitable business model. You know, obviously, I'm talking about the likes of WeWork. At B2C2, we were always profitable. And so the possibility in 2018 not to be profitable anymore was not something that I could accept. And because I'm not a huge crypto evangelist, I can do this, or I can do something else. And in fact, you know, I'm you know, I have other interests outside of crypto, as you do. I know you're a big fan of whiskey. And so and so that's where I was coming from.

Frank Chaparro Take my mind.

Max Boonen But, I think that we were, we did a very good job of our distribution effort in Japan. We managed to hire a very senior trader from Goldman Sachs. And then in the United States. That's a market that we only entered this year because it's a you know, the United States, I don't want to say it is a dangerous market, but you need to approach it with a cool head, right? You don't want to send a 25-year-old to run your U.S. operations because they're going to end up in front of the regulator. It's not gonna be good. And we managed to find an absolute monster of the FX market who had been on the Federal Reserve FX Committee for 10 years, someone really senior for an exchange to run our operations here, and it's been an incredible success. You know, we've had an incredible quarter and we've had an extremely good year in 2019. And so now, you know, someone like me, who's really a trader, was, uh, you know, I was thinking of, uh, of what the business model is, where the profit is going to come from, you know, the revenue. I mean, that's music to my ears.

Frank Chaparro Do you have any sense of what the volumes are? I know we don't really have a precise picture or a full picture of what OTC volumes are. But do you have any sense of what your market share might be globally and then here in the United States?

Max Boonen So we have some hints, right? Because actual numbers, people like to keep them close to their chest. Yeah. But I know that one of our, I don't want to say competitors now because they're focused on an exchange or Alameda trading was that very successful exchange FTX. They revealed a couple weeks ago that they were doing around 20, 30 million dollars a day in OTC volume, which is obviously is dwarfed by the volumes on FTX, right? I think they're doing like hundreds of millions a day on their exchange. So you've got one data point, you know, 20 to 30 million dollars a day B2C2 is doing an order of magnitude more than that. In the heyday, Circle had, you know, 200 million dollar days. So when you start thinking of, okay, well, you know, could be low hundreds of millions of dollars a day for like a very big name on, you know, in a good month, not by a slow day, right? And you think that there's a handful of those then? Then, yeah, maybe you can start sizing up the market and thinking, well, maybe a billion dollar a day OTC is a lot. That would surprise me, but definitely more than 100 million. So it's got to be, maybe, I don't know, six hundred million dollars a day, something like that.

Frank Chaparro Sure. Let's say it's 600 million a day. What would your--well, I don't know if you want to share your market share, but what do you think it might be?

Max Boonen I think we would be number one.

Frank Chaparro Number one? We were talking about--before we turned the mics on--we were talking about market share and who I used the word "big dog" might be in the space. 2016, you mentioned, it was definitely Cumberland - early entrant and turned to market 2014 and then 2017 or, excuse me, 2018 was probably Circle. And they put out their numbers. I don't know them off the top of my head, but 2018 was a monster year for them. And now here we are in 2019, about to go into 2020, and you don't think there's a clear "top dog" anymore? And you think it's a good thing?

Max Boonen Well, I don't know if it's a good thing, but it's more natural, I think, when you look at conventional market, there isn't a single investment bank that's by a mile the number one investment bank, you know, they all have strengths in different, in different segments, right? And I think that's where we're also going to in crypto. In fact, I would think that if B2C2, you know, is by a big distance the number one OTC liquidity provider, that would actually scare me because, you know, with a large footprint also comes specific risk. You know, I don't want to say "too big to fail," but I think you see what I'm hinting at if really you're the center of price formation in the market, then that starts to be a little bit unhealthy. And in fact, when you know, when I traded interest rate swaps, it was very important that, you know, there were other banks in the market who we could hedge with, there was a deep inter-dealer broker inter-dealer market where we could exchange risk with one another. So I would think, in fact, that for a healthy market to exist, we should have--I think OTC is too small compared to exchanges at the time being so that I think that's going to change--but it's important that there's different dealers that trade with one another and move risk around and recycle it rather than one "top dog." I don't think that would be the best outcome.

Frank Chaparro If you think about what no one shop is going to be strong in everything or naturally, that's the natural state of things. What is BC--excuse me--B2C2 strong? Where is B2C2 strong, and where are they weak?

Max Boonen I start with the weaknesses. Yeah, I think--

Frank Chaparro What is this like a job interview? What is your--tell me what your weakness is. I work too hard. I work too damn hard.

Max Boonen Well, I do hope I get the job. In terms of in terms of weaknesses, uh, what we have is, you know, historically, we've had a smaller balance sheet than others. That's something that I deal with mended over time. But the barriers make it so there there's some trades that we couldn't do because, you know, it was gonna be too much pressure on our operations, also because we were historically smaller. I mean, now we're 40 people, but it wasn't always like that. You know, things like 24 hour settlements was not something that we could easily support. And for some of the players in the space, important that, you know, you're able to settle anytime. So that was also, that was also a weakness. Um. And, um, but when you start looking at the strength, I think that our core strength is that our background in OTC market-making in foreign exchange specifically EFX and in interest rates. I studied a lot of things that gives us good color in terms of what the market's going to look like. That's why we had the first single-dealer platform in 2016. That's why in 2017 we went to Japan. And actually in terms of all the things that we were good at were the number one player in Japan by a huge, huge distance. There is no one else who has managed to crack Japan in the way that we have. And the reason that we have achieved that is that we understand the dynamics of OTC markets versus exchange markets. The reason that any--

Frank Chaparro What do you mean by that? What do you mean by that? What do you mean when you say you understand the dynamics between exchange markets and OTC?

Max Boonen So if you trade on an exchange in conventional asset classeses, the only reason you do that is because no one wants to trade with OTC. Let's say you're a hedge fund, you want to trade for an exchange. You first you go to J.P. Morgan and you say show me some prices. I want to trade dollar yen to trade some dollar yen against J.P. Morgan, their principal market maker. Meaning that if you win, they lose. If you're too smart and they're not able to hedge the risk on time and they're not making money off you first, they're going to widen the prices that they show to you. So it's gonna become less less attractive for you if you keep trading and to keep making money, losing money, they're just going to kick you out. Yeah. And when they kick you out, what do you do when you go to the exchange? You're going to trade. CME FX futures. So the exchange is where the people who are too smart to trade against the natural OTC liquidity providers because their algos are too sharp, too fast, or whatever--they go to the exchange. So it means that if you have a user base, which is more naturally, let's say like long term investors or retail traders in crypto who just want to buy some crypto, they don't know that the market is going to go up or down in the next, you know, 50 milliseconds or five seconds, right? So it makes a lot of sense for them, it's a lot more economical for them to go to a new OTC equity provider because they're gonna get much better prices. So that's what you find in all conventional markets: if you trade OTC and you have a flow that is manageable because it's not too aggressive, you're not like looking at, you know, making money on the next 50 microseconds or something like that, then you get much better prices than on the exchanges. So that's a dynamic that we understand at B2C2. And so we're really good at understanding the business model of our clients so that we can show them the tightest pricing possible in respect to their business model. And I'll give you a simple example. That's something that our competitors really, really struggling with. Um, you mentioned that, you know the top dogs in the two previous years. They really struggle with people like quant funds that have, you know, alpha models that are gonna tell them that the market's going to go up or down in the next five or something, five minutes, right? So those guys struggle with that, because if they get the risk of those guys with me maybe are predicting that the market is gonna go up because Twitter tweets are, you know, all bullish. They're not, they don't manage to hedge fast enough to be able for at the same time decline to make money because at the end of the day know that it comes right on the horizon of five minutes. Mm hmm. But the market-maker, if you hedged within the first five seconds, you also make money, right? And so trading with smart clients who have a horizon that doesn't overlap with yours as a market-maker is really something that we've nailed at B2C2. And that means we can trade with people that our competitors don't dare trade with, right? And when you start aggregating so much of that flow. So from quant funds, from retail aggregators, uh, you know, from simple, you know, family office punters, when you start having, you know, thousands and thousands of trades a day, then you don't even need to ever hedge on an exchange anymore. So you internalize all the flow when you have a buyer on the one hand, you have a seller coming to you in the next few seconds. You can even skew your prices to set it clients to be able to show them axes that so so that they're gonna be able to take you out of your risk. And when you're able to really of a lot of OTC flow two-way from a diverse client base, then you really start to have a pricing advantage because you don't need to ever go to the exchange to hedge anymore. So that's something that is really a core strength of B2C2. And that's why we can, I think, show the tightest pricing in the industry. But there's something that's important to note. The fact that we can show the tightest pricing in the industry doesn't mean that we showed those prices to everybody because obviously one thing that's really important, and that's how, you know, the big banks make money also for an action based on their asset classes that they're able to to show specific pricing to specific clients. You know, your client does not price sensitive, you need to charge a bit more, because that also allows you to, you know, to pay for a fixed cost and show much tighter pricing to people who are price sensitive. So doing that, you know, sort of tiering and pricing is also very important.

Frank Chaparro So are you guys going to the exchange at all on that side of the business?

Max Boonen What? Well, we're we have very big footprint on exchanges were I think in the exchange that we trade with normally were, you know, in the top five in terms of market share. But what's important is that, you know, those businesses are in synergy. The fact that we see very, very low overall cost of trading on exchange helps us show the best pricing in OTC, which then in turn, because we see floor that others don't, gives us a bit of an edge on the exchanges. So we have we have those two businesses where, you know, where we have quite a big footprint.

Celia Wan So you mentioned that Japan is a hard market to crack. And do you think those advantages that you just mentioned that B2C2 has is what helped you but not other market makers be successful in Japan?

Max Boonen I think Japan is, you know, has a very specific, you know, the culture over there is quite specific, right. Um, and you find that it actually cuts both ways. Japanese companies that want to go international often struggle to do so because because of cultural reasons. You know, the way business is done in Japan is a little bit different. And when you, if you come in quite aggressively and you think that you have the best product and they ought to trade with you because obviously you are the best and you're from the US, and yada-yada-yada, that doesn't usually, you know, go down well in Japan. And so you have to be you have to be attuned to the sensitivities. And that's also why I mean, if you just send someone who's even if they've been, you know, 10 years in Japan, that they're from the U.S., if they're not actually Japanese, there's always gonna be me perhaps a little bit that that's missing, right? You need to atune yourself to the local sensitivities. And as I said, it goes both ways, right? You know, we we know there's obviously a lot of famous Japanese companies that have cracked the U.S. market. But a lot of them have also struggled to do so. Right. And and I think of, you know, on the um in terms of NTT DoCoMo and places like that, you know, are absolutely massive in Japan you've never heard of them out of Japan, or you look at the big FX brokers. You know, the GMO's a good example. In Japan, you have to publish your FX volumes as a broker. So it's all public. GMO does in any given day, in foreign exchange, more than 100 billion dollars in volume on a daily basis. When you look at the bank like a you know, Goldman Sachs from Morgan Stanley in foreign exchange, maybe they do 40 billion. So a fraction of that. All right. So GMO is an absolute monster when it comes to trading volumes. Yet no one here on the table, I would expect, has really heard of them.

Frank Chaparro I think it's a point that can be also be made in the crypto market in terms of the number of institutional and enterprise companies that are in cryptocurrency here in the States we haven't heard of, but I know you guys are working with a number of these players. I'm thinking of Line, which recently launched an exchange, Rakuten. I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly. No, how do say it? And what did I say? And I apologize to our Japanese listeners--the H is, uh, you're working with a number of these different enterprises on, um, on their cryptocurrency endeavors. How much of a, how much is that part of the business--working with these large firms that are kind of trying to crack and maybe trying to source some Bitcoin liquidity?

Max Boonen So one thing I can say is that three quarters of our volume is coming from regulated institutions. So a lot of those would be perhaps not lying because they're a little bit new to the scene, you know, but the likes of of GMO. So when I think of the large players that are getting into the space and have an established business model outside of it, what I think is a common theme is that they all have a strong retail user base. The Rakuten and is like the Amazon of Japan. So, you know, they have millions and millions of clients Line is the WhatsApp of Asia. So they've got millions of users through that. And so for them, it's easy to make a success out of it because it's like a RobinHood, you know, on crypto. People are just going to trade because they trade stocks with you. So that's, uh, so that's why I think those guys have an easier way. And compared to a lot of institutions that are more traditional and like an asset manager, a BlackRock, you know, people for a long time in crypto have been saying, oh, there's a world of institutional money that's just about to get in the market, just about to get in the market. They've been saying that for 2, 3 years, right? Mm hmm. Mm hmm. I think that that's misunderstanding what an institution is. When you think of institutions, you have to realize one thing. There isn't such a thing as a sort of universe that is outside of our reality, where institutions live. All institutions, they and their purpose is to serve, you know, the general population at the end of the day. If you look at insurance companies, massive asset managers. But what do they do? I mean, you just buy fire insurance for your house. When you look at pension funds, absolutely massive like Cal Pearson in California. But who do they serve? They serve, you know, you know, the general population who are investing their savings, right? And so when you think of it, it would be very strange if an institution that served the general population were to decide of its own volition to go and start investing in crypto when really their mandate is not that at all. An insurance company, their mandate is that they're getting the premiums, the premia every month in that they don't need to payout  on the policies immediately because obviously, thankfully, your house doesn't burn down every month, and so that pot of money that they need to invest, but it needs to be super safe, because when the house does burn down, they need to make sure that the money is there to pay out, to pay the claims. And so it would be very surprising that, you know, conservative institutions get into the crypto space without having a strong mandate. And today, if you're a retail investor, you can buy crypto. It's not so difficult. You can go to Coinbase. You can go to a Kraken into a lot of places. You don't necessarily you know, you don't necessarily need a BlackRock to put together a mutual fund for you to invest in. And so I think that's one of the reasons that, you know, the institutional money, quote, unquote, if there is such a thing, you know, is slow to come in. In my opinion, the institutions that need to be in crypto, they're already in crypto. So, Robinhood, they're in crypto because I believe that completes their offering.

Frank Chaparro Mm hmm. Mm hmm. But what do you think's keeping mean? It was funny. I was just up in Greenwich, Connecticut, for a hedge fund private equity conference. And I asked the audience before the panel started, "How many of you think crypto is a cesspool?" And 60 percent of the hands in the room shot up. Mm hmm. And then I asked how many people were invested and only, you know, 20 percent, maybe, raised their hand. That area of the market, I do think when I think of like asset managers, to your point, you know, like the BlackRocks of the world and the larger funds are really walled off in a way that trading firms aren't, the retail brokers aren't, the exchanges aren't. Why do you think that is? This is just a risk thing, is it that they don't see the thesis for investing in Bitcoin right now in this market? There's talk of it being a safe haven when it probably isn't at all. There's talk of it being a hedge against runaway inflation and a hedge against political uncertainty. Maybe they're not buying that argument. Or maybe it's the reputational risk. What do you think it is?

Max Boonen There is a there's a few types of institutions. You mentioned, um, when it comes to asset managers like a BlackRock. The first question, I think, is one of suitability. They have to think that when it is suitable for the portfolio, that's going to be a question of the mandates. So do they have an actual mandate because they're investing on behalf of people. They're just not investing in stuff that you think is gonna go up. So they need to have a mandate. In order for them to have a mandate, they need to think that there is enough demand out there for there to be a mandate, you know, they can create a fund that people actually can invest in. And I think that, you know, they just don't think that's the case. When you look at hedge funds, I think trends are actually an interesting segment because those guys could potentially, you know, drive a lot of volu