According to an interview with Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara on Unikrn Radio, the popular exchange will soon begin to accept fiat deposits in US dollars for the majority of their customers and partners. Currently the two major US exchanges that accept USD deposits are GDAX/Coinbase, and Gemini. This puts Bittrex in league with these major exchanges, with the added advantage that it supports over 190 cryptocurrencies including the four supported by GDAX and the two supported by Gemini.
Users who are new to cryptocurrencies often find entry into the market through either the Coinbase/GDAX or Gemini platform, because of the easy nature of making fiat deposits through ACH or a bank wire transfer. This unique characteristic has enabled these two exchanges to remain competitive, despite their extremely limited options. With the added step of converting fiat to digital currency in order to utilize some of the other exchanges such as Binance, many novices who catch the Bitcoin bug never leave these platforms, and their trades are limited to Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Ethereum. Fiat deposits on Bittrex is a game changer, not just for the company, but for the entire crypto community. With more new people gaining access to hundreds of alt coins, we may see some major moves in the more popular coins, as well as major increases in overall market cap.
This change to Bittrex will no doubt force the hands of Coinbase and Gemini. Their ability to accept fiat deposits will no longer be a differentiator that keeps their platforms in play, and they could very well lose substantial market share to Bittrex without major changes. People have been speculating for months that these major exchanges would start offering other coins, and these rumors have been used to pump the prices of coins that in the end, have yet to be picked up by either one. We may now see the effect of such rumors diminished, where prices start to become more focused on the utility of each coin.
According to Shihara, Bittrex considers a number of criteria when considering new listings. First, they want innovative ideas. They see themselves as an incubator and want the best ideas traded on their platform. They tend not to accept coins that are advertised as pumping high volume on other platforms. They also consider the experience of the project team, advisors and principle investors. Shihara said, “It’s suspicious to us if you’re three guys who worked at a coffee shop and you’re suddenly building a token that wants to compete with Ethereum with smart contracts.” Last, they look at legal compliance, which continues to evolve.
These standards keep Bittrex at a high quality standard, despite their broad selection of nearly 200 coins trading on the exchange. We can expect that based on this news, GDAX/Coinbase and Gemini will likely accelerate their plans to include more coins and trading pairs. We can also expect that other popular exchanges like Binance that do not currently accept fiat bank deposits may need to retool their platforms as well. Regardless, Bittrex will be a force to recon with.
Listen to the interview below: