Why Was Coinbase’s OTC Crypto Trading Launch a Quiet Affair?
For an exchange as large and popular as Coinbase, keeping their users updated about their activities is standard practice. However, Coinbase managed to keep one significant development under wraps. CNBC reported that the exchange recently launched an OTC trading desk for digital currencies, geared toward institutional customers. OTC trading is known to be favored by institutional customers and helps in adding more diversity to a mainly retail-driven cryptocurrency market.
Coinbase’s New OTC Offering
The cryptocurrency trading desk started earlier this month by Coinbase was not talked about much, at least in the beginning. The exchange, valued at about $8 billion, intended to test the interest in this kind of product before making noise about its new offering.
Coinbase’s head OTC trader at New York headquarters, Tim Plakas explained this, saying:
“We wanted to make sure we had all the boxes checked before we went public. We needed to have some of our trusted institutional clients on board and were in a beta mode to make sure that all the pipes were working.”
In an OTC trade, the trading is done directly between the buyer and the seller rather than on an exchange. Coinbase will only act as an agency and earn a commission for executing client trades.
What About Coinbase’s Retail Business?
Coinbase can be credited for becoming one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the US and the world. During the crypto boom of late last year, they on-boarded over 50,000 retail accounts per day. Ordinary investors loved Coinbase, but institutions stayed away.
Head of institutional sales Christine Sandler said that OTC is like giving “an extra pair of hands” to make a trade. However, as Coinbase may have been skeptical or unsure about its reception, they went ahead with a soft launch, working with a small network of clients in the beginning.
Coinbase’s retail business will go on uninterrupted. Volumes in the business have gone down due to the bear market, and there is no sign of a major recovery yet. Starting an OTC desk, therefore, could help Coinbase in diversifying its offerings and bring in more business during this quiet market period.