Coinbase to Start Offering Block Trades for Institutional Clients on GDAX
Coinbase, the popular cryptocurrency exchange that recently valued itself at $8 billion, is now preparing to support block trading on its professional trading platform, GDAX. According to a report by Business Insider that cites sources close to the company, Coinbase made the decision to compete with rival crypto exchange Gemini, in addition to other OTC trading firms, for deep-pocketed institutional investors.
Block trades are conducted off an exchange’s main order book, and work to reduce the market impact on large buy and sell orders.
Insiders also share that Coinbase plans on opening a Chicago office, in order to be close to the Chicago Stock Exchange, CME Group, and the Cboe, which recently launched Bitcoin futures trading. The company is also hiring a head of market structure to work closely with institutional clients and explore new order-types and liquidity incentive programs.
This news comes shortly after speculation dropped that the big brokerage firms, including Morgan Stanley, are preparing to open dedicated cryptocurrency desks. Additionally, recent reports indicate that Billionaire Peter Thiel has backed a startup that is building trading tools to aggregate OTC markets and dark pools to provide investors with large block trades.
Direct competitor Gemini also recently announced that it is introducing a service that will allow investors to make big trades outside of the firm’s order books, while Goldman Sachs-backed Circle recently raised its trade minimum for a Bitcoin ticket to $500,000, in response to increasing institutional demand.
The last few months have been big for Coinbase, which recently launched its own early-stage venture fund, and completed a $100 million acquisition of bitcoin startup Earn.com. Given that more and more competitors are beginning to move into the retail investor market, including England-based Revolut, Coinbase must now focus on securing market share through institutional clients.