Popular Bitcoin block explorer website Blockchain.com is expanding into crypto trading thanks to a newly launched platform dubbed The Pit . The exchange is based in London and will offer a multitude of trading pairs for bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Tether, Litecoin, and Paxos.
The company, which claims a user-base of over 40 million crypto wallet registrations, typically provides all kinds of useful statistics for the Bitcoin blockchain. The expansion into trading, however, signals a move to integrate those customers into a seamless crypto exchange service.
Blockchain.com has enlisted the services of none other than the charismatic (but noticeably aging) Star Trek legend William Shatner to bolster its marketing campaign:
The Pit is named after the frenetic open outcry trading floors of the 80s and 90s where traders screamed over each other and flashed complicated trading signals to place their trades.
Most trading these days is done digitally, though, and Blockchain.com intends to dominate the still-nascent crypto exchange market.
Penned on the company’s official blog , Blockchain.com CEO Peter Smith outlined the need to develop a cryptocurrency exchange:
“I’ve personally been using exchanges since 2011 and haven’t seen much improvement. They are unreliable, illiquid, and often unfair. They encourage users to keep their crypto deposited, rather than safely secured in their own private keys.”
Speaking with Bloomberg , Smith also highlighted the performance that customers of The Pit can expect:
“We wanted to build a Wall Street or a Chicago-level matching engine. The Pit will execute orders in under 50 microseconds, compared with 200 to 500 milliseconds at most crypto exchanges.”
Hundreds of times faster may not matter for the average trader. For sophisticated bot programmers, however, the difference is significant. This still begs the question though – how safe will this exchange be compared to its peers?
Cryptocurrency exchanges have a torrid reputation of fraud and hacks. Admittedly, many enthusiasts still make the shameful mistake of leaving their funds on an exchange that holds their private keys.
Smith says that customers of The Pit will be able to connect their independent Blockchain wallets directly to their trading accounts. It’s a smart idea that’s long overdue but will still need independent verification.
The company, which is headquartered out of Luxembourg, chose London as its exchange base due to the mature banking sector and its access to institutional investors.
Smith is soliciting help from some of the worlds top firms for the project. This includes the likes of the NYSE, Google, TD Ameritrade, Interactive Brokers, and others.
Using London as its base is a somewhat risky decision. Britain plans to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 with some speculating that the departure could severely affect London’s status as the European financial capital. Either way, trading is scheduled to begin shortly. The Pit is available in over 240 countries but currently only allows deposits in U.S dollars, euros, and British pounds.