Laser Digital Acquires Elysium Technology Group for an undisclosed amount.
On June 29th, 2023 Laser Digital announced the acquisition of the post-trade solutions provider for FX & digital assets, Elysium Technology Group.
Target: Elysium Technology Group
Elysium Technology Group provides post-trade solutions for the FX & digital asset industries. Elysium has three core products, including MatchHub, a centralized trading hub using connective software to settle, match, reconcile, and net trades. MatchHub also offers developer tool kits, allowing users to configure the software to their needs. Mission Control is a live, cloud-based dashboard for screening and monitoring digital assets & FX positions with connectivity to over 100 exchanges. The firm also has an enterprise database management platform, RiskDB, that focuses on smoothing post-trade workflows and reducing processing costs. As of 2019, Elysium was processing $30B of trading volume per day for FX assets.
Elysium’s closest competitors include other infrastructure providers in the trade lifecycle for FX and digital assets, such as Osttra, TradeNeXus, GlobalLink, LSEG’s SwapAgent, LCX, CrossTower, BlockFills, KeyRock, Etana, and Paxos’ itBit.
The company was founded in 2007 in Stamford, Connecticut by Chairman Andy Siciliano, Managing Director Ed Mount, and CTO Mark Rosenfeld, Elysium currently has over 20 employees, with offices in Connecticut, Virginia, and Illinois. Elysium was originally formed in 2002 as a private trading firm, growing up to $230M AUM, before the group pivoted into technology solutions in 2007. The firm has no disclosed capital raised to date.
Buyer: Laser Digital
Laser Digital is the digital asset-focused arm of Nomura, a large Japanese financial institution with $17B in TTM revenue and a $12B market capitalization. Laser Digital offers asset management, liquidity, and market-making solutions to their digital asset clients. In addition, the firm makes venture investments in digital asset-related companies. Laser Digital’s trading solutions (liquidity and market-making) are focused on institutional customers, such as pensions, hedge funds, and family offices.
Laser Digital was launched in September 2022 and is led by CEO Jez Mohideen, who previously ran Global Markets EMEA at Nomura, and Executive Chairman Steve Ashley, who was previously the Global Head of the Wholesale Division at Nomura. The firm currently has an estimated 70 employees and is based in Zurich, Switzerland.
This is the first acquisition by Laser Digital, although the group has made minority investments in two digital asset-related firms.
Laser Digital acquired Elysium Technology Group for an undisclosed amount. Elysium will operate as a subsidiary and affiliate of Laser Digital under the name of Elysium LD Technology, Inc. The transaction is expected to close imminently.
Comparable crypto trading infrastructure transactions include Bakkt | Apex Crypto ($200M M&A Alert) Coinbase | FairX ($275M M&A Alert), FTX | Bitvo (ND M&A Alert), Blockchain.com | Altonomy ($250M M&A Alert), Amber Group | DeCurret (ND), DHS Consulting | Allentro ($575M ), Exegy | Vela (ND), and SBI Financial Services | B2C2 (ND).
This is a significant announcement that marks Laser Digital’s commitment to FX and digital assets and emphasizes the importance of owning post-trade functionality that can facilitate multiple asset classes. Laser Digital is acquiring a platform that provides “air traffic control” for its capital markets business that includes trade settlement, real-time position reporting, and a securities database with digital asset symbology.
As the roles market participants play in digital asset markets continue to evolve (see the separation of exchanges, brokers, and custodians), Laser Digital is positioned as a key FX and digital asset post-trade infrastructure provider with traditional financial institution roots, which is the counterparty profile that institutions want to do business with.
Finally, institutional-grade, cross-asset functionality will drive client decision-making, as the demand to participate in digital assets increases.
Architect Partners’ Observations
The digital asset post-trade process has not been elegantly solved. Equities have dominant clearinghouses like DTCC to make the process efficient and the risk well-managed. Digital asset settlement looks like FX settlement where it is peer-to-peer with its associated higher risk of failure. We are seeing more firms try to solve this, like the newly announced BitGo Go Network. Many are offered by a custodian allowing pre-trade credit and net settlement for assets that are under custody. Elysium bridges directly to FX and futures so takes it a step further by allowing cross-asset trade settlement.
All of these settlement solutions need volume and scale. The winner will not necessarily be the best technology, but the one that can sign up participants and scale the quickest. We see firms continuing to attract M&A interest and capital into this specialized but critical segment.