Launching a Successful Futures Exchange — Our COO Shares His Journey
Lee Mayne is Chief Operating Officer at Digitex Futures. Ask him what that means and his list of tasks goes on interminably. From managing relations with exchanges to overseeing the developers, Lee is basically the glue that holds the Digitex team together, or in his words: “I have a birdseye view as much as I can on everything that’s going on and make sure where possible that the team is functioning correctly.”
As the team expands, that’s no easy task, although it’s a little more pleasant when you have a longstanding friendship with the company’s founder. Adam and Lee go way back (there’s no need to say exactly how far) and they have much in common--most notably a passion for trading. Adam on the front-lines trading making money and Lee in a more technical capacity. So how did they meet?
“I was running another site at the time,” Lee recalls, “it was a gaming, trading, and gambling blog. We were covering all the applications that were out there connected to Betfair and I ending up chatting to Adam, getting on really well with him and then helping him on his website.
Then it reached the point where I was working pretty much full time with Adam. I was living in Malta at the time and that cascaded into Adam coming out to Malta to live for a year to redevelop a new version of the software. So we’ve always been in touch through trading.”
Lee is a self-confessed computer geek with a background in engineering, he says, “I just live in front of a computer, I always have.” When asked how he got involved with Digitex he smiles and his eyes light up, “Adam called me and said he had a crazy idea and asked if I wanted to get involved.”
Getting in on a Crazy Idea
So, I was dying to know, what was his initial reaction to Adam’s “crazy idea” of offering commission-free trading using a brand-new technology?
He was instantly in, of course!
“I remember how he marketed Racing Traders, videoing himself trading and I knew that he would be able to replicate that success on these markets. I have a very strong faith in Adam both as a founder and as a trader.”
And, according to Lee, we have yet to see the best of Adam; he’s really going to come into his own once the exchange is live and he can show people how to make money. “No one’s ever really seen that yet except a little on the demo.”
He continues, “I also know how much people love to scalp markets in my experience. There's a whole industry that sprung up off of Racing Traders, trading on a ladder. These people are earning good money and paying commissions. So if you take away those commissions, it’s a win-win. As the product goes, in this space it doesn't get much better than this.”
A Technical Background and an Interest in Blockchain
But Adam’s phone call wasn’t the first time that Lee has heard of blockchain technology. In fact, he was already well-acquainted with it, buying his first bitcoin in 2016. And even before that around eight years ago, he was looking at mining bitcoin with a friend, but the startup costs were too high.
“The cost of electricity in Malta was too high and the bitcoin price was too low,” he explains, “but oh how I wish we had now!” He laughs ruefully.
Lee was always interested in the blockchain space but he states, “never commercially, until Adam came along with his idea.”
I asked him to tell us a bit about the ICO, and what it was like. You know, that record-breaking ICO that sold out in 17 minutes?
He pauses and lets out a sigh. It’s clear that was an exhausting time. “The weeks leading up to the ICO were insane,” he recalls, “It was seriously sleepless nights, we had a small team doing the marketing but basically, the whole focus was on Telegram. It took on a world of its own during the ICO and it was literally 18 hours a day on Telegram answering peoples' questions and proving that we weren't a scam... It was absolutely crazy!”
Clearly, Lee’s background and the product he was working on lend themselves well to the exchange. In fact, he’s the man behind that beautiful interface you see on the Digitex Futures website and--very soon--on the live exchange!
“Yeah,” he says, “I designed the UI for Digitex. We took a lot from what we learned at Racing Traders, but the ladder and scalping they just go hand in hand.”
The Ladder System Will Catch on in Spot Trading
“When you first look at the ladder,” he says, “it looks confusing, but once you get past that barrier, you wonder why you ever tried to manually trade, typing in the amounts, prices, make or take, and press enter because with the ladder you can open the market and in one click place a trade.”
The one-click ladder system is essential in a market where speed is of the essence. However, it’s not only for people who want to trade fast Lee explains.
“Even if people just want to spot trade BTC for ETH, it’s going to be using the same ladder: Log in, open the market, click one button, you made your trade. People can do the traditional ways of typing in a figure and hitting enter but I don't think many will after using the ladder.”
What’s Next in the Pipeline for Digitex?
So what’s coming up on the horizon, apart from the Beta launch in a few weeks? “Well,” he says, “apart from the upcoming launch, we’re currently translating the website into Russian. We have a first line of support already and can offer support in Russian, we can train up another person quickly if that market grows.”
This is no mean feat. When you consider all it involves. Lee explains, “It’s relatively easy to translate a website, but to do it right you need support staff, you need people to explain it, you need the platform translated and staff trained on the platform….
So, we’re starting with Russia, this will be our test market and test language. If that goes well we will go after Asia.”
For the rest of the first half of 2019, Lee says we’ll be growing the team, onboarding and scaling up like crazy! We’ll need to get much bigger as demand for Digitex grows.
When you consider that the Futures Industry Association (FIA) estimated the value of all futures contracts traded last year around $33.6 trillion, the potential market is huge--and growing rapidly.
And as Lee said, when it comes to products in this space, with zero commission fees and a one-click ladder trading interface; it doesn’t get better than this.
“We’ll launch the software and then we’ll start bringing in secondary markets, other futures markets and spot markets, this is going to be key. It will bring a lot of new eyes on our futures markets. That’s what we're all about we’re a futures exchange.”
Anything Else to Add?
“Well, just that DGTX is a really good buy right now because as soon as we open those doors… I don’t think anyone realizes how big this is going to be… even internally.”
Lee’s right. Sometimes you get so caught up in the work that you forget what you’re doing is breaking new ground. We’re ready to disrupt the futures industry. We’ve got a 55K-strong Telegram community and more than half a million anxious traders signed up to our Early Access Waitlist. We’re just getting started!