After more than three decades of working in the technology space and providing solutions to the financial services industry, BSO Head of Sales, UK, APA & ME, Matthew Lempriere, is helping businesses navigate the evolving crypto landscape. In our recent interview, Matthew discussed the shifts in the crypto market, how it’s changing crypto infrastructure needs and why BSO is perfectly positioned to support firms in adapting to the change and future-proofing their infrastructure.
Question: You’ve been in this industry for quite some time and at BSO for almost 5 years - what inspired you to choose this path in business?
Matthew: The financial services industry is one of the most demanding and biggest users of technology across different streams. I started selling technology to the financial services industry in 1991, for a telecommunications company which had been privatised in the late 80s. It was rewarding to help customers get away from what had been a nationalised monopoly into a much more commercialised environment.
However, it has changed a lot since, and when I joined BSO, a lot of the large telcos were increasing profit by making cuts to reduce costs. This can lead to a challenging work environment. Having been in large telcos for most of my career, the chance to join a company that was expanding, growing, and investing was really important, and we’re on a very different path in our business journey than the likes of some of the bigger telcos.
Question: What would you say is the most important thing you need to succeed in the industry?
Matthew: For the role that I do, there's a combination of things, such as personal reputation, network and brand. Obviously, you need fantastic products and services, but you also need the right commercial model and strong sales, services and support to back you up and take your company brand out to market.
Question: What are your current areas of responsibility for BSO?
Matthew: I run the business for the UK, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific regions (from New Zealand up to Japan, China, India and everything in between). I’m also running many of our key crypto projects and how we are servicing the crypto market.
Behavioural shifts in the crypto market and new crypto infrastructure demands
Question: BSO has solutions for various sectors, but it has a specific solution for the crypto space. How do they differ?
Matthew: Crypto is quite a different technology stack from other verticals. Financial services infrastructure is largely based in physical data centres around the world, while the crypto market is primarily cloud-based. Until now, it’s been mainly retail-focused, but this is changing and we’re seeing much more of an institutional focus.
The market structure around crypto is very different from traditional financial services structures. For example, if you look at trading, you have hedge funds, buy-side and sell-side, brokers, exchanges and a range of post-sales players, including payment systems, custody systems and ISVs - software vendors that sit across different participants in the market.
In the crypto space, there’s a smaller spread of market participants. In the early adoption phase, many market players were buying and selling cryptocurrencies via their phones, in a retail-focused way. But with the market shifting, technology providers like BSO have had to change existing solutions and create specific crypto infrastructure products and services to cater specifically for institutional players, meet new market demands and behaviours and take a cloud-first approach. We've had to reengineer our networks to offer the lowest possible latency and highest possible performance to companies from cloud infrastructure solutions.
Question: What are the biggest changes in the crypto space you’ve seen in the last couple of years?
Matthew: The biggest change in the crypto space I’ve seen is this move from retail-based to institutional-based crypto trading. If you look back a few years ago, the big banks were not trading crypto. For example, there were various quotes from Jamie Dimon, claiming that JP Morgan would have nothing to do with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. But that has changed. Most high-frequency traders are now trading crypto and their technology requirements are significantly different from individuals buying and selling crypto on their mobile phones.
The regulators and industry associations are now getting more involved too. FIX and various regulatory institutions are trying to implement a greater structure for a space that was often referred to as the “Wild West”. The crypto industry is, therefore, becoming more regulated and professional, and this will continue as the sector aims to reduce security and compliance concerns and perceptions around risk.
Question: What are the biggest crypto infrastructure challenges for businesses in the sector?
Matthew: A big technology challenge is how do you deal with a cloud-based trading service as opposed to a physical, server-based one? Some companies struggle to adjust to new technologies and ways of working, whilst IT teams need to ensure they can meet latency, reliability and performance needs for the sector with cloud-hosted infrastructure solutions.
If you are trading on a physical exchange, you can build your network infrastructure and define exactly what your latency will be, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. But when trading via a cloud-based exchange, latency is no longer deterministic. The latency within your cloud solution can change regularly, so you're dealing with more unknowns than with on-premise solutions.
BSO can help with these challenges. We've spent the last couple of years understanding how the crypto markets are evolving, how the technology stacks operate and how the crypto infrastructure works, meaning we're ideally placed to help companies overcome these infrastructure challenges and implement effective network transformation.
Question: What unique crypto infrastructure needs should businesses and IT teams be aware of?
Matthew: A lot of exchanges are considering whether to stay in the cloud or use dedicated infrastructure. There are pros and cons to both. Banks and trading firms will need to figure out what the exchanges are going to be doing, where they’ll be located and what APIs they’re going to offer, to determine where they should place their trading servers.
For example, if you're trading the foreign exchange markets, you need to have physical servers located in London, Tokyo, New York and, potentially, Singapore. It's fairly straightforward. But if you're trading a variety of crypto exchanges, it's quite complex to figure out where you should host equipment. Should you take virtual machines in the cloud? Should you have physical servers near the cloud? How do you link them together?
Crypto is very different to traditional foreign exchange or equities markets, and some firms are still struggling to understand exactly how to deliver that. However, BSO can advise companies on where the key exchanges are, how to connect to them, what kind of APIs are required and what are the most suitable hosting and networking solutions.
Question: In a sector where there is currently much uncertainty, how can businesses future-proof their IT infrastructure?
Matthew: I think the best approach for future-proofing your IT infrastructure is to take a hybrid approach, which gives you the flexibility to use the cloud in certain locations and dedicated infrastructure in others, connecting networks to make sure that no matter how the exchanges move in the future, you can take full advantage and adjust to changes quickly and easily.
How BSO’s crypto solutions can help businesses future-proof their infrastructures
Question: How do BSO’s crypto solutions address the industry’s challenges and needs?
Matthew: BSO offers cloud access to all the main cloud providers - Microsoft, Zira, Oracle, Alibaba Cloud, Google, AWS, etc - and private cloud solutions, so you can take space on our servers for a more hybrid approach. Businesses can also get dedicated hardware from BSO. So, if you want to host switches and servers in Tokyo, Chicago and London, for example, you can do so in our data centres.
Latency is a key factor in financial services and crypto infrastructure and BSO offers global low latency networks based on both radio-frequency (millimetre, microwave technology) and fibre technology to enable companies to link all trading instances together. We can provide either the lowest latency, highest bandwidth or highest performance, or a combination. It's an extremely rich depth of infrastructure services that can meet any trading requirements.
BSO is currently building partnerships with key players in the crypto space, such as a strategic partnership with OSL, part of the BC Group in Asia, to build out new crypto infrastructure products and services with more partners, better latencies, and more managed services. As the market develops and conditions and demands change, we will continue to develop and evolve accordingly.
Question: What helps BSO stand out from the competition when it comes to crypto infrastructure solutions?
Matthew: The partnerships I mentioned and our expertise in this market. It's a very new market and when it comes to understanding who the players are, how to connect to them and how to offer the lowest latency in and out of the cloud, BSO leads the way. One of the most common things we hear from clients is how impressed they are with our teams’ knowledge and ability to deliver these kinds of services.
The digital asset world has the potential to change how the financial services industry is structured. The move from centralised to decentralised finance could be dramatic over the next few years. If you want to ensure your infrastructure can deal with these upcoming shifts in the industry, BSO’s experts are the people to talk to. I’d encourage businesses to reach out to us to discuss how they can benefit from these changes and how BSO’s technology can help.
The company was founded in 2004 and serves the world’s largest financial institutions. BSO is a global pioneering infrastructure and connectivity provider, helping over 600 data-intensive businesses across diverse markets, including financial services, technology, energy, e-commerce, media and others. BSO owns and provides mission-critical infrastructure, including network connectivity, cloud solutions, managed services and hosting, that are specific and dedicated to each customer served.
The company’s network comprises 240+ PoPs across 33 markets, 40+ cloud on-ramps, is integrated with all major public cloud providers and connects to 75+ on-net internet exchanges and 30+ stock exchanges. The team of experts works closely with customers in order to create solutions that meet the detailed and specific needs of their business, providing the latency, resilience and security they need regardless of location.
BSO is headquartered in Ireland, and has 11 offices across the globe, including London, New York, Paris, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Access our website and find out more information: www.bso.co
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