In brief

  • Oxford and Cambridge students are competing in an algorithmic trading competition.
  • APEX:E3 is holding the competition.
  • The winner gets to keep the returns.

What better way to convince the world’s brightest young minds to spend a month working under your thumb than to launch a competition based on a centuries-old rivalry between two of the world's leading universities?

APEX:E3, the crypto algorithmic trading firm putting on the competition, has a deceptively simple ask for Oxford and Cambridge math and computer science students: Figure out a way to make more money on cryptocurrency trading.

Since November 16, the students have been competing to make the most money from crypto exchanges Coinbase Pro and FTX, according to a press release APEX:E3 pushed out this morning.

APEX:E3 said that students have already spent their days conjuring up algorithms that incorporate technologies and concepts as diverse as machine-learning, neural networks, and whale order trading.

In return for their toils, APEX:E3 is providing Oxford and Cambridge students from math and computer science departments access to its APIs, technical support, mentorship, and an undisclosed amount of “seed funding.” 

The firm also partnered with Coinbase, FTX, SIX Digital Exchange, LMAX Digital and ConsenSys (which provides funds to an editorially independent Decrypt).

When the competition concludes at some point next month, the clocks will stop and a panel of “industry leading judges” will rate the teams on their algorithms. 

Dr. Quentin Stafford-Fraser, Department of Computer Science, University of Cambridge, said in a statement, “APEX:E3 has created a fun and risk-free way for students to learn about the industry and bring their creativity and expertise to bear on the particular challenges of this domain.”

Only the winners will get to keep their seed capital and returns. Everyone else, it appears, will leave with nothing. Perfect for the pressure cooker environment that caused this writer to retreat to the cynicism of Decrypt