The cryptocurrency community cheered on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange for launching Bitcoin futures. But before that came BitMEX, a crypto derivatives marketplace that allows for leveraged bets of up to 100 times the principal on digital assets from Bitcoin to Cardano. Billing itself as the most liquid crypto futures exchange, BitMEX handled an average $2.1 billion in trades at the end of 2017—far more than the $50 million that changed hands with the CBOE on its first day of launch. The brain behind it all: Arthur Hayes, a Citigroup and Deutsche Bank alumnus who has built his startup on customers in Asia and Eastern Europe, and who, unlike many on this list, does not own Bitcoin.
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