Cryptocurrency firm Paxos to apply for clearing agency license

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(Reuters) - Cryptocurrency firm Paxos said on Tuesday it will apply for a formal clearing agency license from the U.S. Securities regulator following a pilot test in which Credit Suisse and Instinet used its platform for same-day trade settlements.

Paxos said Credit Suisse and Instinet, the trading arm of investment bank Nomura Holdings Inc, settled U.S.-listed stock trades on the same day using Paxos' settlement service.

The trades marked the first live application of blockchain technology for equities markets in the U.S., Paxos said.

Currently, it takes two days to settle a trade. However, calls to shorten this time gained momentum in the wake of the retail trading frenzy that sent a handful of heavily-shorted stocks like GameStop Corp up as much as 1,600%.

In February, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) said reducing the settlement time to one day would reduce market risk and lower margin requirements, especially during particularly volatile market conditions.

Robinhood Chief Executive Officer Vlad Tenev has also called for real-time settlement of equities in the U.S. The brokerage app was forced to restrict trading in some stocks earlier this year to meet deposit requirements at its clearinghouse.

Trades at Paxos, however, were not executed real-time. The company said transactions occurring at 11:00 am Eastern Time (ET) and 3:00 pm ET were settled at 4:30 pm ET.

The New York-based company said it hopes to secure clearing agency registration in 2021. A clearing agency is an intermediary that facilitates the proper settlement of a trade between a buyer and a seller.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)