Bittrex is certainly looking to close the gap on rival exchanges, with its latest move sure to raise eyebrows. The US-based digital currency exchange already allows for the trading of almost 200 cryptocurrencies, and now it is looking to introduce the missing ingredient. USD to crypto trading is considered to be what is most sought after by investors, with Bittrex now agreeing to a deal with banking authorities to make that a reality.
From New York to the World
The move, which is somewhat overdue in the eyes of many, will allow corporate clients in select states to buy coins with USD. Bittrex is currently behind the likes of Binance, Kraken, and Bitstamp among others, as far as crypto exchange popularity is concerned. Many see this move as a way to give its business a shot in the arm, with Bittrex working with New York’s Signature Bank to make it happen.
Travelling a Long Path
Bittrex has been looking to progress as an exchange in recent months, so this latest move shouldn’t come as a surprise. Speaking on the deal with Signature Bank, Bill Shihara (Bittrex CEO) admitted that “It’s been a long path” to get to this point. “It’s not just about banks being able to trust Bittrex. It’s about banks being able to trust crypto in general. And I think it’s really showing that crypto is turning the corner in terms of mainstream acceptance,” Shihara said in a recent interview.
Getting involved with standard currency-based crypto trading has represented a tricky maneuver for many large exchanges. What it tends to bring is stricter to government regulations and – at times – unwanted attention with regards to customer verification and money laundering practices. Many have considered this risk to reputation too great and have remained exclusively as crypto-to-crypto exchanges. For that reason, Bittrex is taking a leap of faith to a certain extent.
A Tricky Two-Way Street
Banks are now coming around to the idea of acknowledging the cryptocurrency market. Coinbase – the most popular crypto exchange in the world – has formed partnerships with a number of banks. Metropolitan Bank, Silvergate Bank, and Cross River Bank in the US, along with Barclays Bank in the UK, have all welcomed Coinbase with open arms. Not that long ago, Bitfinex made headlines when Noble Bank took over the exchanges banking duties after it was unceremoniously dumped by financial sector giant Wells Fargo & Co. All this does is show that while the banks are open to crypto-exchange related business, they certainly aren’t afraid to pull the plug either.
Speaking on how the process of a deal between a crypto exchange and a bank comes together, Shihara said, “They really do look and pore through the entire business. They want to make sure that we’ve got robust AML/KYC processes, that we’ve got the right controls on our finances. They do background checks and everything. They really look at our business soup to nuts.” Shihara’s words echo that of other exchange heads, many of which have also commented of the difficulty that comes with dealing with the banking sector.
Bittrex Takes the Next Step
Bittrex currently has more than 3 million clients around the world, but growth beyond this number is clearly on the agenda. Standard currency trading is set to launch on the exchange today, with the service initially limited to corporate customers based in Montana, Washington, New York, and California. Should the uptake of USD to crypto trading be a success, you can expect this option to be expanded to retail investors in the near future.