WhatsApp’s nearly six-hour-long outage affected trading of Russian oil assets from cryptocurrencies on Monday, market players said, although a quick switch to alternative platforms such as Telegram limits serious disruption.
Despite many financial institutions discouraging employees from using messaging services such as WhatsApp and other Facebook platforms, their convenience has made them popular among traders communicating with customers in over-the-counter (OTC) markets. .
Facebook blamed “faulty configuration changes” for the outages affecting WhatsApp, as well as Instagram and Messenger, in the largest outage ever tracked by web monitoring group DownDetector.
Among those affected was BCB Group, a London-based crypto firm that offers OTC trading as well as other services. Facebook’s services were shut down around noon Eastern Time (1600 GMT), a crucial window for BCB traders.
Chief Executive Oliver Vaughan-Landsberg Sadie said, “The WhatsApp outage hit us during the busiest business period we face our US counterparts.”
“Day-to-day volume was down 15 percent on average daily, which we are attributing to connectivity issues internally. Telegram and Slack-based trading was on par with daily averages.”
VoxSmart CEO Oliver Blower said WhatsApp use among financial merchants tracked by communications monitoring firm VolxSmart has risen sharply as banks acknowledge that customers want to use the platform, even though bosses can send their employees to official messaging channels. like to use.
Blower said the app has become the “default messaging service” in many markets, particularly in continental Europe and the Asia-Pacific.
From 2,000 interdealer users sending 10,000 messages a day in the energy market in 2016, VoxSmart today tracks three to five million messages weekly across asset classes including banks and buy-side clients.
“What’s interesting is both the volume and the content of the messages. It’s not just what time you’re going to ‘The Dog and the Duck,’ it’s, what’s your price on 5 years?” The blower used slang to say a British pub.
whatsapp to telegram
Still, the prevalence of messenger services beyond WhatsApp meant that Monday’s outage was a nuisance rather than a major disruption.
In India, for example, the market chatter on WhatsApp has migrated to Telegram where there are fewer restrictions on the size of group chats. The outage also came after markets closed in much of Asia, limiting any impact.
In the Middle East, “crypto OTC trading mainly happens over Telegram or WhatsApp, where you ask your OTC brokers for bids and offers, and then you hit it and they will confirm the transaction,” said the CEO of Dubai Investment Platform. Zachary Sefratti said. Dalma Capital, adding that Telegram was becoming more widely used.
OTC traders in the oil markets were also hit, though again using other platforms softened the blow.
In Russia, oil traders said WhatsApp was commonly used to communicate order details across Europe and Asia. A trader in Europe said Monday’s outage was an “unpleasant surprise”.
“It wasn’t cool. Everyone uses it. But we also use alternate messengers, so switched,” said another.
© Thomson Reuters 2021