Since Bitcoin (BTC) began to collapse in early-2018, reports have claimed that institutional players have continued to siphon greenbacks into the budding crypto markets. And while this hearsay has been deemed credible by a myriad of industry commentators, markets have barely budged. This begs the million-dollar question — how are Wall Street hotshots entering the crypto space?
Researchers either believe that institutions aren’t legitimately foraying into Bitcoin, or that over-the-counter desks have quickly become a lesser-known, yet highly-utilized medium for hefty trades. Yet, considering the handful of preeminent startups that have launched OTC platforms in recent weeks, it may be the latter.
Bittrex Launches Bitcoin OTC Trading
On Monday, Bittrex, a leading, regulated crypto platform headquartered in Seattle, Washington State, took to its Twitter account and company blog to start off 2019 with a bang. In a social media message, released in tandem with an extensive press release, Bittrex divulged that it had launched an OTC desk for “approved customers.”
We’re always exploring new trading options for our customers. Today we’re excited to offer an over-the-counter (OTC) desk for approved customers to quickly and conveniently trade digital assets. Details: https://t.co/YBtaFCr2Xi pic.twitter.com/Osi0v3Vvjm
— Bittrex (@BittrexExchange) January 14, 2019
Per the release, this newfangled offering will allow KYC-approved traders to “quickly and conveniently trade digital assets,” including the approximately 200 tokens supported by the major American exchange.
The desk, which has been released in trying times for the cryptosphere, will purportedly “reduce customer price risk,” while offering rapid trade execution. Bittrex also claimed that for so-called “large trades,” often nominally valued at $250,000 or greater, pricing will be “guaranteed.”
Speaking on the offering, firm chief Bill Shihara, formerly of Washington-headquartered corporations Amazon and Microsoft, noted that this trading option is “game-changing” for his firm’s customers. At the same time, Shihara took the time to double-down on his firm’s raison d’etre to push blockchain adoption. He stated:
“This offering will be another way for Bittrex to further advance [the] adoption of blockchain technology worldwide, while also providing our customers with price certainty and a fast and easy way to trade large blocks of digital assets.”
At the time of writing, the platform is live, and will now be accepting crypto and U.S. dollar deposits.
This recent foray into institutional-focused product comes just weeks after Binance, headed by industry golden child Changpeng Zhao, threw $3 million at Koi Trading, an emerging OTC desk.
Just weeks after Binance’s surprise investment, Coinbase’s head of coverage, Christine Sandler, told Cheddar that it launched its own OTC offering behind closed doors. Sandler claimed that the launch of the desk was “opportunistic,” adding that institutions are still looking to down the proverbial crypto (red) pill, so to speak.
Wall Street Still Ready To Down The Crypto Pill
The launch of Bittrex’s newest platform comes amid reports that OTC traders are bullish on cryptocurrencies. Per The Block, OTC traders — mostly Wall Streeters, crypto funds, and high net-worth individuals — have begun to express bullishness on Ether, and other leading digital assets.
Cumberland, a digital asset trading subsidiary of crypto-friendly DRW, recently took to Twitter to claim that the net imbalance between its OTC buys and sellers saw a 60% surge in the past week.
Michael Moro of Genesis echoed Cumberland’s comments in a private conversation with The Block. Moro claimed that while late-2018, specifically Q4, saw investors sell cryptocurrencies en-masse for tax-related purposes and “the liquidation of crypto donations,” as the new year rolled around, “buy-side interest [have begun] to pick up.”
Even Paul Ciavardini, an executive at the Standard stablecoin issuer Paxos, claimed that OTC trading flows on its in-house platform has mostly been “buy tickets from emerging markets traders.”
Title Image Courtesy Of Marco Verch Via Flickr