Written from the perspective of Hehmeyer CEO, Chris Hehmeyer.
There were three moments in my career that made me stop what I was doing in wonderment, moments that gave me firm direction as to where I would take the next steps in my career.
The first, as is the case for many in our industry, was walking onto the trading floor for the first time. The seemingly chaotic, frenetic energy in that building stopped me in my tracks, and I quickly realized that this place was where I wanted to build my career. It was an exciting, exclusive group, and I wanted to be a part of it.
A number of years later — more than I’d care to admit — I remember being similarly stunned, excited, and amazed when I saw a trade executed online for the first time. I saw a closed system beginning to open, and recognized what a huge development this was for the trading community. The changes it wrought certainly lived up to that initial awe.
My third jolt of astonishment and realization came when I saw a cryptocurrency sent from one mobile wallet to another, a transfer of value completely removed from the traditional financial system. Much like the prior two experiences, my initial shock soon gave way to interest, inspiration, and passion. It was at this moment I knew my company had to get in that ballgame.
Our early efforts in and exposure to crypto led to our acknowledging how we were best suited to interact with these promising new digital assets. Attending conferences on digital assets opened my eyes to the vibrant and energetic community in the space — what I’ve dubbed “the movement” — and initial hires focused solely on crypto all emboldened me to dig deeper into this industry. In 2017, we began opening accounts on exchanges, purchasing bitcoin and other digital assets and holding them in cold storage. Informed by our historical expertise, we as a company began to trade in the space, making markets on exchanges, and directly to counterparties. The Hehmeyer crypto division was born.
Since then, the immense growth trajectory of the crypto industry and this sector of our business — at that point, just one of multiple divisions of Hehmeyer Trading + Investments — led to our ultimate realization that we had to devote our full effort and focus to market making in digital assets.
This decision, while easy in the respect that our team felt a remarkable calling towards the digital asset movement, was challenging given my extensive background in the futures industry. It is certainly hard to say goodbye to the CFTC and National Futures Association (NFA)-regulated US futures business — markets that I have lived and breathed for 40+ years as a runner, trader, introducing broker, futures commission merchant, commodity pool operator, and commodity trading advisor. I look back and feel especially fortunate to have played a role in the industry’s support community: from being chairman of the NFA, to sitting on the board of the Futures Industry Association, to participating in over 40 committees at the Chicago Board of Trade related to futures trading (yes, I enjoy staying busy).
Given this experience implementing and guiding regulation, my firm’s entrance wholesale into cryptocurrencies may come as a bit of a surprise. But while the digital asset market is still young, it is our firm belief that all assets will eventually become tokenized and transacted in ways not known to us currently. We feel as though we are a startup in a startup industry, although we are bringing decades of trading experience to the table. This opportunity, in a space that is constantly growing and evolving, invigorates us.
So what does this all mean for the new Hehmeyer? Our vision is that Hehmeyer is instrumental in creating a world where transactions are liberated. We envision a world where transactional integrity, greater transparency, and new mediums of exchange have emerged. A world where people have become knowledgeable and are inspired by the possibilities of digital assets empowering their lives. While the electronification of trading propped open the door of a traditionally closed ecosystem, cryptocurrencies blew it fully ajar.
We plan to be an active participant in this evolution of the digital asset market. We are doing this because we want to contribute to the liberation of interactions among people. I know that sounds lofty, but this is going to change the way people conduct transactions and own their assets. As Yogi Berra said, “it is hard to make predictions, especially when it is about the future.” But, we believe wholeheartedly in the movement, and are dedicated to helping lead the charge.