FTX.US President’s new venture aims to use AI for crypto trading.

Many people believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will have a significant impact on almost every industry, including crypto trading. Brett Harrison, the former President of FTX.US who resigned just months before its parent company collapsed, believes that using AI could simplify the coding of algorithmic trading strategies.

Harrison’s new venture, Architect, officially launched in January 2023 with a $5 million seed round from Coinbase Ventures and Anthony Scaramucci, among others. In an interview with blockchain, Harrison stated that Architect aims to provide investment tools to individual traders and large institutions. The platform has been in beta mode and available to select clients since May.

During the peak of interest in AI around February or May, Architect recognized an opportunity to write algorithmic trading code for cryptocurrencies using generative AI tools like ChatGPT, which is a chatbot created by Sam Altman’s OpenAI. Harrison explained that the initial step of creating such algorithms is often the most challenging because it requires specialized skills and knowledge that not all trading firms possess in-house.

“Our idea was to leverage the OpenAI API’s and combine them with our internal trading API’s built on different protocols to enable the use of natural language queries for generating trading strategy code,” Harrison said. As an example, traders could use Architect’s platform to set up software that buys bitcoin on Coinbase when its price drops below the price on other crypto exchanges.

Early stages

Architect is still in the early exploration phase of AI tools and envisions them as part of a suite of features on its platform. Based on customer feedback, another AI-powered tool under consideration is the use of large language models (LLMs) for advanced market indicators or embedding LLMs directly into the trading process, according to Harrison.

LLMs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are artificial neural networks trained on large language datasets, enabling them to understand and generate human-like texts. Due to their language proficiency, LLMs can comprehend complex concepts and explain them to users in an accessible manner.

Read more: AI Can Generate a Trading Edge in Crypto Markets

“The main goal is to build robust software that helps institutions prepare for a world where traditional and digital assets seamlessly coexist,” Harrison said. “However, we believe that AI will be a critical component of most businesses moving forward, and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to leverage AI tools for our users.”

Harrison emphasized that the success of trading strategies ultimately relies on the team behind them, not just the generative AI used to build them. He noted that the results obtained from tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT are only as good as the prompts provided to them. “You definitely need to review the strategy, ensure it’s working, tweak it, and test it,” he said.

The FTX connection

Despite the new trading platform, Harrison and Architect have been associated with the shadow of FTX, a company known for its highly publicized collapse in the crypto world.

Harrison resigned as President of FTX.US in late September 2022, just months before the exchange collapsed. Six out of eight employees listed on Architect’s website previously worked at FTX US.

When asked about his connection to FTX and fundraising, Harrison stated that some investors couldn’t ignore it, while others were able to. He mentioned that prior to the collapse, he publicly discussed Sam’s influence on the industry and how it affected his fundraising process, with investors inquiring about Sam’s connection to the company. After the collapse, some of the same investors expressed concerns about his association with FTX. However, these concerns were only raised by a few investors he spoke to.

“We were able to raise funds very successfully, despite being in one of the most challenging times for the industry to raise money, not just in crypto but across the venture capital landscape,” Harrison said.

CORRECTION (July 5, 2023, 19:00 UTC): An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated Harrison’s title as CEO of FTX US.

Edited by Nelson Wang and Aoyon Ashraf.