This week we are excited to bring you a very special guest, Emil Uruci, one of the most talented and controversial figure of the Australian crypto space and the man behind the crypto hedge fund southern star Oceania Financial Capital!
First congrats on all your success so far with OFC so far. Tell me your own story.
Emil Uruci: Thanks. I went to USYD and then moved to Singapore to join Jump Trading after that. In 2015 I left Jump to join DRW and became one of the early members in DRW Cumberland crypto trade desk. I started OFC in 2018. My ultimate goal, is to be able to help change the way finance works to make the world a fairer place from tyranny and misgovernance.
Your vision sounds a bit like SBF. Do you see yourself as a finance anarchist?
Emil Uruci: I read about Sam’s earn-to-give idea. Kudos to him but I do believe the world’s problem is a system problem, a problem of governance. Good governance comes from reshape of orders, redistribution of powers, and redesign of incentives. I don’t see myself as an anarchist. I see myself as advocacy of changes. Revolution may be a too big word to use, but changes shall be made. After changes, there would be new orders and new ways of governance. Same idea, different ways.
How do you first get into quant trading? You started from Jump Trading, one of the most mysterious prop to many outsiders. What was it like?
Emil Uruci: I studied computer science but I didn’t think academic career would be my thing. I started my own algorithm trading in crude oil and ASX since high school. Some of my friends were working for Jump and liked it. So I followed. Working in Jump is all about one thing: fast. That was how they triumph in the market and to me, I did like it. It’s a great place to push me to the limit, learn how to analyse and perform under big time pressure, managing bigger scale project and effectively communicate with others.
You joined Cumberland and what was in it for you?
Emil Uruci: In 2015 China and Malaysia started to tighten their policies on high frequency quants, so I turned to crypto then: less regulation, big arbitrage opportunities, not many people around so perfect place for algorithm trading. You could see big percentages even only between USD exchange. We made the first ever comprehensive strategy engine dedicated to cryptocurrencies, and provided liquidity not only to mainstream exchanges and coins, but also the emerging ones. One good example was Zcash. Cumberland was one of the earliest institutions to support Zcash. Gladly Zcash got big acceptance and a legendary price booming in 2016/2017, and we were a part of it. And that was exciting.
Why you made decision to move back to Australia amid the bull run?
Emil Uruci: Besides family reasons, I saw the opportunities. Back in 2015 my friend in Sydney passed me a prospectus by a crypto company called Digital X. The listing wasn’t successful then as ASX doubted the going concern of crypto industry in general. But later we all know the story of Blockchain Global. Then in 2017 the Australian government invited me as an advisor to establish their crypto compliance framework Info 225. It was interesting as Australia wasn’t a world-class financial center traditionally but we could have a chance as we moved early enough in the crypto world. I ended up moving back to Sydney before the government gave a greenlight to cryptocurrency.
When did you first decide to build OFC?
Emil Uruci: Pretty much the same time on the Info 225 task I met Craig, and we both agree that there would be a surge in the number of exchange services and the crypto liquidity and hedge market is way too immature. So we decided ‘ okay here we go’, then we build OFC.
Tell us more about OFC
Emil Uruci: OFC started as a liquidity provider to crypto exchange. Since Australia had legalised cryptocurrency as money, we started in fiat-to-crypto market making, from AUD to THB, TRY, and USD. This market has the biggest arb opportunities and was dominantly an OTC market before OFC’s establishment, but we managed to provide meaningful market depths to these markets, appealing to mostly the need of regulated exchanges with direct fiat access. While we saw the rapid development of crypto derivatives, OFC scaled up quickly over the mid of 2018 and generally trade across the majority of the world’s crypto exchanges, from futures to perpetual swaps. Over the years it’s grown to trade ~$700m/day globally.
What do you think of the crypto derivatives market?
Emil Uruci: Derivative is now bigger than spot markets. I’d say It goes both ways: first now institutions or big money are taking the lead. Secondly, retail investors are reuniting in a decentralised way. At the end of the day, it’s still an arena where retail VS institutions. In 2019 we initiated OFC Margin Trading Advisor, the first Commodity Trading Advisor product for crypto, where we unify all retail investors in an on-chain decentralised way but manage in a hedge fund manner. We also shared our Forecast Bot for market prediction to all users. It is a good way to balance the market power to stop a too soon centralisation of the market. After all, the crypto has an extent of regulation but it would never be like the security or share markets, the crypto ecosystem itself needs to rebalance the market power to prevent a whale tyranny.
OFC Forecast Bot
DFJ invested in you guys in 2019. What’s the story behind it?
Emil Uruci: I know them since Cumberland and before OFCwe worked on a number of initiatives with DFJ Growth and DFJ investee companies, like OTC, liquidity etc.. When I started OFC, we both think it’s a deal we should get done, and so it be.
OFC is growing fast and you are now having over 70 employees. What is your next step?
Emil Uruci: To be honest I don’t think the number matters that much. 70 is quite a lot for an Australian tech company but compared to our Asian counterpart probably it is still not that ‘sizable’. The COVID-19 pandemic strengthened my interest in decentralised corporate structure or even a complete DAO. For us a shared vision or a shared consensus, and being result-oriented are more meaningful to us. With OFC MTA, we are building localised representatives or Service Hubs based completely by voluntary communities and shared interest as our forward posts in local markets. We are targeting 1000 of them hopefully.
OFC community in China
What is your favorite quote?
Emil Uruci：‘Anyone can achieve their fullest potential, who we are might be predetermined, but the path we follow is always of our own choosing.’ by Martin Heidegger.
We’ve OFC’s recent moves in DeFi. Tell us about what do you think of the potential of DeFis?
Emil Uruci：DeFi has a chance to restructure the financial system that we know in a unprecedented way. Services would be turned into protocols, and decision makers would be replaced by governance. This is the most fascinating part of it. OFC is, in a way, a DeFi too, just a bit more a bridge between traditional centralised way and the totally DeFi-ed world. Whether there is a hype in DeFi? My answer is yes. But whether the hype is necessary? My answer is also yes. DeFi has to keep building, testing, and replacing. Yield is only a method, not the goal.
What would be the new features and products that OFC is going to deliver in the next year? Any projects you are particularly excited about?
Emil Uruci: We’ve recently rolled out the OFC De-Option and for now we have already reached a 3 million USD daily trading volume. So for me, I guess more in the derivative space? Products, better UI, more DeFi support. So much stuff we are considering.
What is your best advice to investors?
Emil Uruci: Investment is against human nature. Most of losses occur in bull runs. Rely on a good methodology, not a good instinct. There isn’t such a thing.
Where do you see the Crypto and DeFi landscape in 5 years?
Emil Uruci: I don’t have an answer. But see, back in 2010, who knew Bitcoin could be like it is today. If crypto goes well then I definitely have faith in DeFi.
Thanks Emil! BTCHeights is really keen to see what OFC come up with next! Awesome team and product! Until next time.