The Trading Show Chicago 2022: Nine Takeaways

Chuck Mackie
6 min readOct 3, 2022

Sponsored by Gate 39 Media

The Trading Show was back at Navy Pier in Chicago on September 28 and 29 and revealed a vibrant and innovative range of developments in everything from trading infrastructure to new digital assets. Last year I came away with eight lessons learned at The Trading Show so this year I’m going one better. Here are my nine takeaways from this year’s event:

  1. The first keynotes on day one are a good indicator of most important current topics and this year it was data, as embodied in Pyth Network and Lukka. In the first discussion, Sarah Kopit of The Block interviewed Mike Cahill of Pyth as he made a case for the importance of data oracles which, not surprisingly, Pyth aims to be. They are putting data on-chain and may completely disrupt the current data model as their 72 partners, including many of the leading proprietary trading firms, disrupt who gets paid for data. Next up was David Easthope of Coalition Greenwich in conversation with Dan Huscher from Lukka. Lukka was one of the exhibitors/presenters that had a big presence this year (more examples below) as they are one of the best established sellers of the picks and shovels that are infrastructure for digital assets.
  2. AI, ML and neural networks were big topics of conversation as these techniques are adopted more and more. For example, Eric Gravengaard of Athena Networks moderated a panel on “Neural Networks — The use of neural networks for assets” that included Michael Beal of Data Capital Management, Peng Cheng from JP Morgan, Stefan Jansen of Applied AI, Mark Bennett from NVIDIA and Che Guan of Alliance Bernstein while numerous other panels dealt with machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) and even “Mitigating Risk in ML’’ with the ever entertaining and informative Howard Getson of Capitalogix along with Ernest Chan of Interest in these complex techniques is becoming more pronounced but, like discussions of sex in middle school, there is often more talk than action.
  3. This is the first time that I have noticed the cloud being a major topic of conversation at The Trading Show. In addition to an comprehensive panel moderated by Dayle Scher of Celent that included Vladyslav Ivanov of Outremont Technologies, Morgan Stanley’s Supreet Kaur and Hunter Almgren from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, exhibitor was a big presence on the trade show floor and with several presentations. Clockwork attempts to bring transparency and performance that is often lacking with public cloud. As for the panel, insightful comments centered on one lesson learned: “Don’t take shortcuts” — Ivanov; “Everyone must be on board “— Kaur; “Fail fast and evolve” — Almgren
  4. I personally took two turns on stage, first in a one-on-one conversation with Matt Leising from DeCential Media and then as moderator for a discussion on institutional adoption of digital assets with Giles Colwell from BlockFi and Bill Cannon of Valkyrie Investments. In the first case, Leising is the author of “Out of the Ether”, which is a really good intro into the world of digital assets as told through the history of Ethereum, and DeCential is a great source for learning about the fascinating and talented people that are driving innovation for a new digital world.
  5. I stumbled into the “DeFi and Barriers to Entry” panel after my one-on-one conversation with Matt Leising and both missed the beginning of the talk and then couldn’t get my scrambled brain to pick up the thread of the conversation. There was a large audience in attendance and some interesting back-and-forth on the panel so I asked someone to provide a recap for me. (They didn’t have time to clear it with their corporated handlers so they shall remain anonymous here!)”: The “DeFi and Barriers to Entry” panel kicked off with Jessica Darmoni from Cboe Digital providing a statistic about traction the DeFI industry is experiencing. According to research done by Consensys, DeFi’s Total Value Locked (TVL) has gone from $2 billion to $100 billion in the last three years. DeFi is a broad term but the panelists described it as protocols or smart contracts that operate without the use of AML/KYC and other regulatory standards that manage counterparty risk. The panelists talked about how a regulated DeFi industry would look and Emil Van Essen brought up this OOKi DAO case as an example of regulated DeFi action. Cameron Goldberg from Fireblocks said protocols such as AAVE and Uniswap are good examples of DeFi protocols because they have stood the test of time. Darmoni said that Regulation brings security, transparency and safety to the markets and while all this innovation is good there is still an issue that “people don’t want to be their own dentist”.
  6. Lacking from this year’s show? Regulators and legislators. While Gabriella Kusz and GDCA had a good presence and Robert Howell of the CFTC spoke on the “Digital Asset Regulation” panel with Tony Pettipiece et. al., that was about it. Regulation is something of an dark cloud that hangs over the digital asset space.
  7. The last panel on the last day of a trade show is usually something of a snoozefest but that wasn’t the case this time as Dave Weisberger of CoinRoutes went off on SEC Chairman Gary Gensler. It might have come to blows if Gensler had actually been in the room then, that’s how it felt. Referring to Gensler as “the Montgomery Burns of crypto markets”, he quickly and animatedly described his “asinine decisions” that have led to the unnecessary loss of millions of dollars and are driven by political, rather than logical or economic, reasons. I wish I could have written as fast as Weisberger spoke so that I could have captured all of his arguments. It was great.
  8. The annoying buzz phrase of the year was “dog years”, as in “crypto changes so fast that it’s like living dog years!”. From my perspective, issues in crypto don’t change as much as people would like to believe. After all, weren’t we all talking about regulation and when will we launch a spot bitcoin ETF at this time last year? Even the hacks and business missteps that have characterized the current crypto winter aren’t anything new and, more accurately, are the same flaws and features that have been known for years. The only thing that seems to have gone at a dog’s year pace in the last year is the shrinking market cap of digital assets.
  9. As promised above, several firms stood out for being especially active and in the flow of conversation. This year the list includes CoinRoutes, Copper and FireBlocks. (Disclaimer: three of the four firms that I mentioned in last year’s recap weren’t even at the show this year!)
Mr. Burns or Gary Gensler?

Terrapinn does an excellent job keeping a finger on the pulse beat of markets and trading, from hardware to multiple flavors and stripes of digital assets, and it will be interesting to see what product they put forward next year. The Trading Show traditionally was held in Chicago in the Spring and New York in the Fall. Will they go back to that format? We shall see.

Chuck Mackie is a principal at Fathom Communication. Fathom provides thought leadership strategy and content that delivers both depth and understanding for financial services and technology innovators.

Gate 39 Media is a technology and marketing agency specializing in working with financial services firms, offering an array of services from custom portal and app development to full service marketing solutions. View our Ultimate Guide to Crypto Marketing for tips and strategies.



Chuck Mackie

Chuck is a student of markets and writes on topics ranging from emerging technology to current events in financial services and beyond.