2021 was one of the most prolific years for MENA brokers as they continue to go multi-asset in order to offset sluggish growth in traditional markets. As one of iFX EXPO Dubai’s media partners, FinanceFeeds spoke to a number of C-level executives to attain a balanced verdict on the genuine potential of allocating resources across a mix of asset classes.
Dr. Demetrios Zamboglou, the Group Chief Operating Officer of CFI Financial, provided contextualization to the thesis that cryptocurrencies as an investment vehicle have become a point of interest for many businesses.
Zamboglou joined CFI Financial back in 2020. Asked about the innovations and offerings they have launched since then, he said that over the past few years, they built out their business to meet the global standards of an industry leader. CFI’s core offering and asset portfolio are at a point that is highly competitive for their clients, he notes.
The multi-regulated brokerage firm has recently expanded its catalog with the addition of 250+ cryptocurrency products on MetaTrader 5, with some available 24/7. To set themselves apart and as a point of difference, the range of cryptos offered by CFI not only includes the traditional products found across the industry but also presents its clients with the opportunity to trade cryptocurrency CFDs paired against Gold and Dow Jones, to name a few.
Overall, CFI Group is aiming to have a full suite which goes beyond the current offering of Stocks, Currencies, Commodities, Indices, ETFs, and Cryptos with plans to extend to robo-advisory and intelligent portfolios.
In addition to the above, the company is looking to expand its European line with over 1700 new stocks across Europe and the UK as well as stocks from Poland. This brings the total to 21 global markets and over 13,000 products from one single platform.
“I think everything is unique. Nowadays, we have 13,000 products. We are trading cryptos, even over the weekend. We have new people joining the firm, most recently with the appointment of a new CTO. So as a company, we’re trying to bring in the best. And of course, we are expanding locally and internationally.”
Dr. Zamboglou points out to hiring Stelios Thrasyvoulou as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Thrasyvoulou, whose responsibilities include direct oversight of CFI’s infrastructure, brings 15 years of technology and finance experience to his new role.
For months now, Zamboglou had been talking about integrating cryptocurrency into the business. But his interaction with digital assets dates back to many years before joining CFI, namely when he was European CEO and chief business development officer at Swiss blockchain exchange Lykke Corp. So it was a good chance to get his take on relevant issues like the fragmentation of crypto regulations.
Zamboglou highlighted how global fragmentation is holding back blockchain progress. He also noted gaps in technical standards and regulation even as major institutions are making high-stake bets around crypto.
“Yes, that’s actually not an easy topic to discuss. There are upcoming new regulations. And as you see, nowadays, FCA is leading when it comes to what I call it European regulation. Now you need certain licenses to operate as a crypto facilitator. Cyprus is also coming up with a new regulatory regime. The island will allow companies to offer Cryptos even on a wallet basis.”
He also notes similar stories for the crypto industry in the US, explaining that the regulation there still happens largely on a state-by-state basis.
With the excitement around Ripple and its legal feud with the US regulators, we asked Demetrios if he expects the case will likely reach a conclusion this year.
Despite a slow-moving judicial process, the industry veteran believes Ripple is making great strides in its legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He expects the case, which centers on its XRP cryptocurrency, would ultimately establish precedent and clarify the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrency offerings.
“I think they should be fine. Because at the end of the day, we’re trying to innovate here. So we cannot block this FinTech technology.”
The highly centralized Web2 that we have nowadays is rapidly evolving to its third phase, the ‘Web3’. At the same time, the so-called Metaverse is merging the internet into our lives to interact with it seamlessly. We asked Zamboglou about the prospects of Web 3.0 and Metaverse and how they will complement each other in the future.
“I think Web3 will come similarly to what the blockchain technology did to the finance world. We will definitely have adoption, but it will take time. The funny bit is that everybody is now buying NFTs. Many big providers are even selling .eth domains, which essentially is part of Web3. With the proper education, people will be able to use this kind of technology. And if you’re asking me if this is the future, the answer is yes, I believe this is the near future, at least,” Dr. Zamboglou concludes.