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Author Archives: Renato Mariotti

About Author

Mariotti is a partner Thompson Coburn LLP and former federal prosecutor who spent almost ten years investigating and prosecuting hundreds of cases in a wide variety of areas and is now a defense attorney. He is a former candidate for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General in Illinois.

Lessons From the “Not Guilty” Verdict in This Week’s Criminal Spoofing Trial Standard

Wednesday’s stunning “not guilty” verdict in United States v. Andre Flotron, only the second spoofing case ever taken to trial, is a reminder that it is extremely difficult for prosecutors to prove a defendant’s intent beyond a reasonable doubt in the absence of direct evidence. We should expect the DOJ and CFTC to reevaluate their charging practices in the wake of this significant defense victory. The seeds of the “not guilty” verdict were sown when the DOJ drafted an initial indictment charging Flotron in the District of Connecticut with a single count of conspiring with others to “drive prices” up…

Innovation in Distributed Markets Comes to Navy Pier Standard

The Chicago Blockchain Center and BTCMedia brought Distributed Markets to Chicago’s Navy Pier on Monday and a sizable audience was treated to myriad examples of how far cryptoassets have come and how many dynamic and potentially revolutionary efforts are happening right now. While there are still many cases of “innovation theater” and “pilot purgatory” (terms lifted from event panelists) as well as the fundamental question as to whether or not individual cryptocurrencies are worth their valuations, there are just as many serious commercial success stories, intriguing use cases, and promising paths forward to validate the hype. This was demonstrated right…

Bitcoin and Blockchain: A WILD Opportunity Standard

Bitcoin is not at the dizzying high it was back in December, but interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain is still strong. The world of crypto and distributed ledger technology keeps expanding, with CME and Cboe now trading bitcoin futures, companies getting into initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency meetups forming, and the list of cryptocurrencies getting longer every week. Women In Listed Derivatives (WILD) and Morgan Lewis jointly hosted a panel on the future of blockchain and cryptocurrencies Tuesday evening to a packed house. The main takeaway on cryptocurrency from the panel was that, although crypto is a new and very speculative…

CryptoCon 2018 – Impressions Standard

You practically can’t walk down the street these days without bumping into a conference, seminar, or MeetUp about blockchain and cryptocurrencies as the bitcoin fever of 2017 has metastasized into a cottage industry bent on “figuring it out.” If the results from last week’s FinTank CryptoCon are any indication, the crypto industry is further along than you thought but still very much in its early stages. Aside from its name, which has to make any branding expert cringe, CryptoCon was excellent in terms of the quality of the speakers and breadth of material covered, not to mention strict adherence to…

Highlights from the International Blockchain Conference Standard

The Innovation and Development Foundation (IDF) presented the International Blockchain Congress at mHub on February 9 and it was a bit like taking a train trip on Amtrak; it started late, got a little bit later at each stop along the way, and somehow still managed to be rewarding at the same time. The event highlighted how many exciting projects and developments are taking place with blockchain, the dynamic international community that is propelling progress, and just how hard it still is to separate the gold from pyrite at this point. Highlights from the conference included: Still struggling with blockchain…

WILD Women Make Sound Investment Decisions Standard

Women will have $22 trillion of investing wealth by 2020. Now that women actually have their own money, they – like men – need to know how to make it grow with savings and investments. Women are projected to have $22 trillion of the investing wealth by the year 2020 – they had better know what to do with it. Women in Listed Derivatives (WILD), which has become well known for its efforts in the advancement of women in the financial industry, brought together another room full of highly accomplished women on Tuesday for a panel on Women and Personal…

No, Not the VIX – the VSTOXX Standard

Even your dog has heard of the VIX, the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s benchmark volatility index, but the VSTOXX, the benchmark for volatility in European stocks, is less of a household name in the U.S. Eurex has been trying to change that by adding more and more functionality to their VSTOXX products, starting out with spot prices and futures contracts on the index and then more recently moving into options on futures and ETNs. Yesterday, Eurex and Rival teamed up for a meetup in Chicago at a popular Randolph Street restaurant to share the latest about VSTOXX and  Rival Systems’…

How the Cloud is Disrupting Post-Trade Standard

Sernova Financial, a cloud-based post trade utility, is just starting its second year and Calypso Technologies has just taken a minority stake in the company.  Sernova and Calypso already had a partnership offering cloud-based clearing services. The founders of Sernova came from the clearing divisions of top tier banks, where they found the business wasn’t necessarily cost efficient or revenue-generating. So they decided to take post trade services out of the bank and put it in the cloud as a utility. Jaki Walsh, chief product officer at Sernova, spoke with John Lothian News at the IDX Conference in London this…

On The Move: Vela Makes its second fintech acquisition in the last two months, acquiring Object Trading in addition to the OptionsCity deal that closed in June. Standard

Vela Trading Technologies has been on an acquisition binge since rebranding from its former incarnations as SR Labs and Wombat Financial Software – at least, if you can call two a binge. Less than a month after buying OptionsCity, the fintech company that provided electronic options and futures trading, Vela has announced it will acquire Object Trading, a global direct market access provider located in London. According to Vela’s CEO, Jennifer Nayar, Vela is very strong in the market data space but not as much in direct market access, and the Object Trading acquisition helps Vela to be a “much…