Definitely sharing flow with other OTC desks is a way to get rid of it. The last way to do it is to warehouse the risk and wait for matching counterflow.
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Counterflow is the most valuable I think with OTC desk. We carried some inventory risk for half an hour. In doing so, we avoided the need to have any hedging cost whatsoever. So what are some of the things that differentiates OTC desk from other exchanges? You explained how it solves the slippage problem where on most exchanges the more you buy, the more the price goes up  and the more you sell, the more the price goes down.
So it solves that problem. The way I think about it is purely from a game theoretic standpoint.
If I execute very well for you, I still get paid the same amount. At least for you, you have some guarantee on the price. I strongly  prefer the dealership model but I think there are a few that run on an agency basis to. One is our own hedging costs and two is our profit. So certain desks, they want to take a little bit more on one side or the other, it really depends. I would say overall, things are very competitive and profit margins have gone squeezed quite a bit.
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I would say in the last six months, margins have gone down  by a factor of two. Clay: Do you know the origin of the term over the counter? Kevin: It definitely came from the traditional markets. So we want to make sure they were able to trade with them in the first place. The second thing obviously is on the crypto side. Once we have all of that, we run some checks on it, everything looks good.
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One of the things that we also ask that the counterparty to provide is preferred communications channel. That can be a 2-way quote or it can be 1-way quote. The first is not to reveal any information  about what direction they actually want to go. So seeing a two-sided quote would be good for that. Kevin: Yeah.
Leading down could be like That could still be considered leaning down. But if I have  very severe inventory imbalances, then yeah, I could go like , I could do that. I think it all depends on how each desk manages their inventory, just how badly misaligned their inventory is from their intended position of their inventory. A lot of that is art and some of it is science. Clay: Contracts submitted and quote is requested, how long is the expiration date on the quote usually?
Is it 24 hours or is it custom for each quote,  or is there sort of a standard expiration date for these quotes? Kevin: Usually the quote is good for about 30 seconds but it depends on the party. There are places that offer second quotes.
I think it really depends if we think that the counterparty is more on the toxic side,  we would probably cut it off at about five to 10 seconds. Like a 5-second  caller put for you. But every once in a while, some freak accident happens like I quote you at  PM exact and then at  PM and five seconds the market is just completely ripped or completely crashes. So I think 30 seconds is pretty fair.
They have two options after that. First is that they can pass and no harm done, both sides move on with business and they can come back any time and people pass for several reasons. We will send out a trade confirmation with the trade details, information on settlement, all of that stuff. But the trade confirmation is not when the trade is constant.
Clay: I have a whole bunch of questions around this. Can you take us to the moment of quotation. So you mentioned signal. Is it usually that you guys like, an appointment will be set to sort of work this out in real time? Do you have a countdown timer or are you using the expiring messages function in signal that sort of deletes?
How are you actually tracking this in real time? Kevin: Yeah, so let me address that first. I do know that at the very least in the contract it says that when a trade is agreed upon and a communications channel, then it is completely binding. I think it is the culture though in OTC, you either say confirmed or you say done. Sometimes people just goes for a while, they had to use the bathroom and they missed the quote and asks you to refer for requite.
Okay is very ambiguous. Can you say done? Kevin: We do actually. Done and confirmed are the two acceptable responses to consummate a trade. If they get it done then it needs to be one of those words. It just gets messy. Kevin: Yeah, we only interface in English unfortunately. How does this actually look? I mean I guess you could make them on an ad hoc basis but for the most part, we operate the desk 20 hours a day.
How does this work? How do you delegate this? Kevin: I think you really have to hire the right people. I fully trust my trading team to provide quotes, to trade well, to do the hedging, to basically handle all the trading day-to-day operations. My cofounder is working on the tech and I was doing all the trades. We brought on these guys end of February this year and early March. Now at this point, we completely run it autonomously.
So I guess long story short, they run the entire operations that I fully trust. Kevin: Exactly. That actually goes for some of the developers too.
Even in trading operations, even improv shops, developers are usually paid a higher base  and they have more of a steady and safer job. I think that ultimately, it aligns incentives better.