Whaleclub is a new bitcoin startup that allows anyone to trade the financial markets by using bitcoin, without the need for a bank account. Traders can go long or short on cryptocurrencies, forex, commodities, indices, and stocks, using bitcoin as opposed to fiat currency.
In this exclusive interview with Finance Magnates, one of the top executives in the venture reports that since Whaleclub was launched in January of this year, 10,000 traders have traded over $100 million USD. Current trading volume on Whaleclub is about 60% regular trading and 40% leveraged ‘turbo trading’.
Petar Zivkovski is Whaleclub’s chief operating officer. He has many years of experience in finance and trading – specifically equities and FX, starting in 2002. He has worked as a junior trader, then later as a senior trader on small caps, and also as an individual trader trading private external capital.
“Since 2013, I’ve traded cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin, and built trading systems around that including automation, arbitrage, front-end systems, and others. In doing so, I discovered the potential of digital currency and how it can have significant advantages over fiat in specific use cases around speed, efficiency, borderless transactions, and anonymity. Trading of financial markets was one of those use cases and that’s how Whaleclub started.”
“Our mission is to allow anyone, wherever they may be in the world, to use bitcoin to access and trade the global markets,” Zivkovski told us. “We’re building the future of trading. By blending sophisticated engineering with an elegant experience, we empower thousands of traders to access worldwide markets with bitcoin – completely outside the traditional financial system.”
Based in Hong Kong, Whaleclub began with the idea that a digital currency powered trading platform can operate at less cost than traditional systems. These cost savings can be passed on to customers in the form of low spreads and zero execution fees.
“Traditional trading firms are plagued with deposit and withdrawal delays, excessive fees, and poor customer support,” Zivkovski stated. “By using digital currency instead of fiat, we can provide customers with a superior experience: instant deposits, low spreads, worldwide market access from over 190 countries, customer privacy, and great customer support. This is a defacto example of how digital currency provides a significant advantage over fiat.”
Security-wise, customer funds are held in cold storage at all times. There is no software or automation linked to customer bitcoin wallets, making them technically impossible to breach and keeping them out of reach of software hackers. Whaleclub also offers demo trading where users can trade using demo funds provided by Whaleclub.
Whaleclub sources liquidity for client position hedging on the BTC/USD market from OKCoin, Bitstamp, and various private liquidity pools. “It’s important to note that Whaleclub does not directly route customer trades externally on these exchanges and as such is not in any way exposed to their risk of failure,” Zivkovski said. “A large majority of Whaleclub trades are matched internally.”
Whaleclub offers up to 100x leverage for regular trading. The company also offers turbo trading, which is a new and fast way to trade. “It’s quite simple,” Zivkovski noted. “You go ‘long’ if you expect a price rise or ‘short’ if you expect a price decline. If your prediction is correct at the expiry time, which is usually within one to five minutes depending on the market, you make a profit equivalent to the payoff shown (which could go up as high as 85%). If not, you forfeit the amount you invested.”
Asked about the system’s development, he added: “Whaleclub is built from the ground-up in-house, so we develop and maintain turbo trading. Turbo trading is indeed similar to binary options trading, except it’s powered entirely by bitcoin. It’s based on real-time price feeds and is available for pretty much all the markets we offer except some cryptocurrencies. All trades placed by our users are executed instantly – we don’t delay or reject orders. Payoffs vary from 45% to 75% depending on the market and market conditions.
Clearing of trades is done entirely inside our system. Ideally, buy vs sell positions cancel themselves out at one point in time or over a short period of time. When they don’t and the imbalance is too large, we work with an external market maker who covers half of that exposure, while we cover the other half. Currently, about 40% of volume we get is turbo trading, while the rest is regular trading.”
Bullish on Bitcoin
“Much of the volatility in the bitcoin markets was sapped away with the recent and large Bitfinex hack, so the short-term view on price is relative stability as it builds support to launch another bullish cycle in the year or two ahead,” he said.
“Long-term fundamentals for bitcoin are extremely positive, and despite the quagmire of the block size debate, the community has held strong,” he added. “Another bullish mid-term catalyst for price is the state of uncertainty of world economic affairs, which could trigger capital flights in several countries – this would pave the way for unprecedented bitcoin demand.”
Whaleclub trading is not currently available in New York State, which has strict regulations for digital currency companies. “As the digital currency ecosystem evolves, so does the regulatory landscape,” Zivkovski said. “Regulators contact us to provide or update regulation guidance and clarity regarding their country or region.”
“We recently expanded from four markets to over 30 markets,” Zivkovski said. “Currently, our markets include cryptocurrencies, forex pairs, stocks, indices, and commodities. We’re adding new markets every month and we listen to our customers to prioritize which markets to add over time.”
Whaleclub traders come from 190 different countries. European, South American, and East Asian countries are currently the most represented countries on Whaleclub, Zivkovski said.