Archax: Bridging blockchain & traditional investments

Archax has embraced the difficult way of building an institutional exchange: the right way! This crypto legend has battled adversity and, as a result, is the first and only digital securities exchange regulated by the FCA in London, revolutionizing the digital asset trading landscape. By focusing on transitioning all financial instruments onto blockchain technologies, Archax envisions a future where the efficiency, accessibility, and functionality of financial markets are significantly enhanced. Crypto Legend Graham Rodford, founder and CEO at Archax, speaks with Sophie Guibaud from Fiat Republic. Here are some highlights.


The Legend: The journey from buying to digital asset trading

Rodford followed cryptocurrency from a distance until the 2017/18 ICO boom. He realized then that it was here to stay.  With over two decades of working in investment management, the original idea was to build a hedge fund, but credible “infrastructure just wasn’t ready,” Rodford said. The lack of conventions and systems typical of traditional finance communicated a need for an exchange-institutional throughout. That is, compliance-focused, head to toe. Obtaining a banking license for financial services is fraught with challenges, highlighting the regulatory hurdles companies face. The Banking as a Service (BaaS) model, however, is changing the landscape by allowing non-bank businesses to offer comprehensive banking services without the need for their own banking license, aligning with Archax’s innovative approach. Uniquely, Rodford himself had been a compliance officer for most of his career. Never mind that Archax had a chief compliance officer before launching the platform!

Staying ahead of compliance

Rodford modestly called compliance relatively easy “if you know what to look for and do.” Importantly, he emphasized the significance of responsibly handling money, especially in light of banking regulations and the prevention of money laundering, which are critical in the financial and fintech industry. On the other hand, Rodford continued, there is room for humility and creativity. Simply asking for regulation isn’t feasible. “[I]f you approach them [and ask] to do things the right way, this is our business model, these are the problems we have with the regulation, this is how we think we can do things differently,  [and] perhaps we could do it in the sandbox with a more open-minded approach. [If you do it like that]  you’re likely to get much further, much faster.” Rather than being a pain, Rodford pointed out, regulation is there to avoid great pain, with many crypto natives waking up to that fact during this crypto winter.

Current Battles: The future of FCA regulated exchange and digital assets and how to get there

Staying ahead of compliance isn’t simply about following rules – it’s about pursuing them. Intra-organizational engagements are crucial, Rodford and Guibaud agreed. On the regulatory side of things, Archax works with Crypto UK and the GDF. But they’ve also been working with UK CBC, a government lobbying organization, which has been “really effective,” Rodford reported. His view is that for things to change in the UK economy sufficiently to make it a digital hub, there needs to be clarity and developments on issues of bank accessibility, speed and scrutiny, and “other bits and pieces around property and tax,” said Rodford. Importantly, for most of this to come to fruition, it’s essential to bring organizations together to present a unified voice – especially “to make sure there are the same focus points and message,” he concluded. Crucially, Rodford is nonetheless “a big believer that every single asset in financial services is moving over. Insurance, mortgages security, pretty much everything I think makes more sense with this technology. Archax is at the forefront of digital transformation, democratizing data across the financial sector, enhancing transparency, and improving customer experiences by integrating new technologies with legacy systems. Furthermore, the concept of open banking complements Archax’s vision by fostering a more interconnected and accessible financial ecosystem, allowing for seamless integration of banking services into non-bank businesses.

Fiat Currency Republic: Facilitating sustainable, scalable, and compliance crypto businesses

Fiat Republic agrees with the focus on compliance and intra-organizational lobbying. Rodford is an outlier in cryptocurrency, owing to his deep compliance knowledge informing Archax’s inception. That experience aside, a critical pain point is that many platforms have spaghetti-like fiat rails infrastructure, preventing a cohesive and aggregated compliance process. Fiat Republic achieves this in two ways.

Firstly, our fiat-as-a-service API allows for one integration across geographies with KYC and AML procedures that meet the expectations of multiple crypto-friendly banks, enabling access to a range of banking products, including investment products offered by platforms like Archax. This service deals primarily with fiat currency and fiat money, bridging the gap between traditional financial systems and digital finance by facilitating transactions in government-controlled currencies like the U.S. dollar. A single onboarding means one interface for all compliance communications across providers, limited manual reviews since flows are transparent and well understood, and seamless expansion across geographies since we’ve already taken care of building reliable relationships with international banking platforms.  You can read more about compliance and other essential elements of the fiat strategy car race in our informative ebook here.

Secondly, as a player in the cryptocurrency space, you likely have a set of issues – some specific to you, others general across the industry – and great ideas for moving the space forward. In addition to streamlining your compliance systems while you focus on your product, it’s essential to find alignment in focus points and messages across the industry. That’s why we’ve created the Fiat Republic consortium: to bring platforms, banks, and regulators to the same table to ensure consistency, cohesion, and innovation!

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