Big players in the cryptocurrency space have set up their own private network for OTC trading, buying and selling billions every month among their little club. And instead of using Bloomberg, Symphony or anything of that caliber usually employed by traders on Wall Street, they just Skype it.
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Trading Billions via Skype
A small group of about twenty over-the-counter (OTC) traders and clients including big investors, miners, payment processors and hedge funds, has reached a monthly trading volume worth billions of dollars. Instead of using an online exchange like Coinbase or Kraken, the participants close major deals chatting on Skype and settle them by sending fiat via bank wires and cryptocurrency directly to each others’ wallets.
According to a report by Reuters, after volumes increased ten fold year-over-year some of these cryptocurrency desks now often handle over $100 million a day. DCG’s Genesis Global Trading on average trades $75 million to $80 million daily, Chief Executive Michael Moro said, and in December reached a monthly record of between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. Circle traded OTC up to $4 billion a month over the past year, spokeswoman Jennifer Hanley said.
To avoid potential problems some record calls, register with US regulators, follow KYC and compliance standards, as well as only trade bitcoin and a handful of altcoins. And as for their preferred chatting network, Cumberland Mining’s global head of trading Bobby Cho explained that “We needed a tool that was global and more or less free and Skype provided that.”
Why Trade OTC?
Trading outside the popular cryptocurrency venues can be seen as risk management, trying to avoid losing funds in the case of another exchange hacking or any other incident that can take down an established exchange. “When the big hacks happen we tend to see business go up,” explained one OTC trader.
It can also be a way for whales to avoid making big waves or spooking the market by keeping their trades private. “Generally, you would go trade through an OTC desk when you have a large block trade you want to do without moving the market too much or incurring too much slippage,” said Kevin Zhou, founder of cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund Galois Capital.
Why would big players choose to bypass cryptocurrency exchanges to trade in such a way? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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