Why we remain bullish on Wintermute

Ryze Labs
4 min readJan 30, 2022

Not financial advice.

Introduction

Wintermute (https://www.wintermute.com/) is a crypto market maker based in London. They are a proprietary trading firm and do not manage crypto or fiat funds on behalf of investors or customers.

In lieu of a 689% increase in CEX volume, and 858% increase in DEX volume from 2020 to 2021, Sino Global Capital finds it appropriate to revise our Wintermute thesis in order to better reflect Wintermute’s current position as an eminent crypto MM market leader.

With the growth of CEX volumes from $1.8 trillion to $14 trillion, Crypto MMs have become essential participants in a much larger Web3 TAM. For an overview of the role and importance of market makers, read our original Wintermute investment thesis.

Wintermute’s Dominance: 2021 Data

Cumulative Trading Volume

Wintermute in 2021 alone showcased its dominant ascent as a premier crypto MM, with cumulative settlement rising from ~US$100b to $1.4 trillion, or about 10% of all CEX volume in 2021. Additionally, Wintermute’s DeFi and OTC settlements are not public but have seen comparable, if not greater YoY growth compared to its CeFi market penetration.

Supported Trading Pairs (CEX, DEX, OTC)

Wintermute has expanded its trading pairs and OTC desk capabilities beyond the standard blue-chip suite of cryptoassets (BTC, ETH, USDT). Throughout 2021 Wintermute has integrated over 14,000 OTC pairs and thousands of altcoin pairs, offered on almost all top CeFi platforms & DeFi protocols.

Number of supported exchanges & market share

Wintermute not only services a sizeable proportion of CEX volume on top cryptoasset exchanges (e.g Binance, FTX, Coinbase), but is also a very active market maker and liquidity provider on leading DeFi protocols (e.g Uniswap, Sushi, dYdX). Most settlement is done on a spot basis, but Wintermute has been increasingly integrating options & futures support across on & off-chain markets.

Number of employees

Wintermute’s initiative in expanding services and support to the APAC region are also of note, culminating in a full-fledged Singapore division and more than doubling the team size throughout 2021.

Venture Expansion

Perhaps the most underrated development of the Wintermute brand has been the presence of its venture arm. Although Wintermute largely operates as a delta neutral market making firm (no standalone long/short positions), the venture arm allows Wintermute to make outsized bets on promising founders in exchange for collaboration, talent, and MM support for all Wintermute Portcos.

Some of the most notable initiatives are:

Polygon Venture Fund

Wintermute, a leading digital asset market maker, and Polygon, an Ethereum scaling platform onboarding millions to the Web3, collaborate closely with the launch of Wintermute’s dedicated $20 million venture fund.

The fund aims to support innovative projects utilizing Polygon’s blockchain network to bolster growth and innovation within the Polygon thriving ecosystem of decentralized applications (dapps). As well as funding, Wintermute will facilitate development support, liquidity provision, support for exchange listings, and advice on business strategy.

Wintermute was an early investor in a number of active projects on Polygon, and has been operating on Polygon since early 2021, trading over $500 million a month across its multiple decentralized exchanges (DEXs). In addition to procuring financial backing for early-stage projects, Wintermute will provide support by co-developing, integrating with protocols, and providing liquidity for the protocols’ native tokens.”

Source: Polygon Blog official press release

Hackathons

Wintermute also began hosting hackathons in 2021, aiming to incentivize hackers and developers alike to build innovative DeFi solutions, across all chains.

Hack DeFi was a Wintermute led initiative to incubate projects across NFT, gaming, DeFi, retail, trading, and infrastructure verticals. Winning projects not only receive cash prizes, but also regular 1 on 1 mentoring sessions and informative workshops.

Conclusion

The numbers don’t lie, Wintermute has had a fantastic year and continues to go from strength to strength. Expect to see their name crop up more and more in the coming year as they back best of breed founders via their fund and hackathon. We are looking forward to the rest of 2022 and wish Evgeny and team a fantastic year ahead.

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