Cryptocurrency industry giant Coinbase is preparing to open an office in Chicago and add support for block trading in a bid to attract more institutional clients to GDAX, its professional trading platform.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, Business Insider reports that Coinbase will begin offering block trading — which allows traders to place large orders outside of the exchange’s normal order book — as it seeks to build out its institutional client base and solve a key pain point for this demographic.
High-volume traders have a difficult time executing orders at conventional cryptocurrency exchanges since large orders can cause significant price swings in markets that remain relatively thinly-traded.
With block trading, orders are circulated to market makers outside of the exchange’s continuously-updated order books and transactions are generally published on a delay. These factors help mitigate the effect that large orders have on a cryptocurrency’s exchange price.
The service will presumably be offered through GDAX, which currently ranks as the world’s ninth-largest cryptocurrency exchange, with an approximate daily trading volume of $315 million.
New York-based exchange Gemini, which was co-founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, began offering block trading last month.
A variety of other firms offer over-the-counter (OTC) trading for institutional buyers. Goldman Sachs-backed Circle’s cryptocurrency trading desk recently doubled the minimum size for bitcoin orders to $500,000, citing significant demand from large-scale traders.
Previously, Coinbase announced that it was launching a cryptoasset custodial service that will be open to clients seeking to store at least $10 million worth of assets.
The publication also reports that the San Francisco-based exchange operator made the decision to open an office in Chicago due to the city’s status as a haven for professional trading firms. Shifting its institutional-focused operations here could help it poach top talent from these firms and develop relationships with traders it hopes to lure to GDAX.
As CCN reported, Coinbase has allegedly internally valued itself as $8 billion, an approximate increase of $6.4 billion from the formal valuation it received last August at the conclusion of its Series D funding round.
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