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Billionaire and top UK taxpayer calls Sunak ‘mad’ for backing a16z’s London crypto plan

Billionaire and top UK taxpayer calls Sunak ‘mad’ for backing a16z’s London crypto plan
XTX Markets founder Alex Gerko, left, called out Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for praising Andreessen Horowitz's expansion in London.
  • The UK government is praising a16z’s crypto unit after the VC chose London for its new office.
  • Alex Gerko, founder of London-based XTX Markets called the PM’s backing “absolutely mad.”

The UK’s largest individual taxpayer and founder of London trading firm XTX Markets called out the country’s government for supporting crypto.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised Andreessen Horowitz on Twitter after the US venture capital giant announced plans to expand its crypto division in London.

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XTX’s Alex Gerko, the founder and co-CEO of the market-maker, wrote on Twitter: “Throwing government support behind the industry that is 99% to 100% fraud or bullshit or both is absolutely mad.”

Gerko declined to elaborate on his tweets in a message exchange with DL News.

Gerko isn’t just any crypto sceptic. He’s the largest individual contributor to government coffers via his tax liabilities. The Moscow-born trader paid around $488 million in tax last year, according to The Sunday Times tax list.

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Marc Andreessen’s venture firm announced the plans Sunday. Sunak called the decision a “huge vote of confidence in the UK as a place to build and grow tech businesses of the future.”

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Chris Dixon, who leads a16z, said both parties and the prime minister “see the promise of web3.”

In April, the VC firm responded to the UK Treasury’s first consultation paper, asking the government to consider a “more nuanced approach” to crypto regulation.

Market wizards

Gerko, a former Deutsche Bank trader, founded XTX Markets in 2015. The systematic market-maker has leapfrogged banking giants, including Gerko’s former employer, in spot currency trading rankings. XTX handles about $250 billion in daily trading volume.

In 2018 the firm set up a hub in Paris after the UK officially left the European Union.

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XTX Markets has no human decision-making in trading, Gerko’s former co-chief executive, Zar Amrolia, has said. Instead, the firm relies on programmers and analysts to guide algorithms in trading strategies.

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