'The market is robust:' A trader backed by Goldman Sachs bumps up the minimum to make a bitcoin trade to $500,000

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AP/Mark Lennihan

Trading activity at one of the largest cryptocurrency trading shops is picking up.

  • Circle Trade, the trading operation of Circle, has increased their minimum ticket size on bitcoin trades to $500,000.
  • The move comes during a trading lull in the market for digital currencies across crypto exchange venues.
  • Chief executive Jeremy Allaire told Business Insider the size of block trades has grown significantly since the beginning of the year.

Trading activity at one of the largest cryptocurrency trading shops is picking up despite a lull across exchanges that trade crypto.

In an interview with Business Insider, Circle chief executive Jeremy Allaire said the size of block trades made by Circle Trade, the firm's over-the-counter trading desk, has grown significantly since the beginning of the year.Advertisement

That's despite a share decline in cryptocurrency trading volumes across retail exchanges. Per data from CoinMarketCap, 24-hour trading volumes are down to about $20 billion a day from all-time highs near $70 billion at the beginning of the year.

But "the market is robust" for Circle.

"The minimum ticket size has moved up to $500,000 with an average of $1 million," Allaire said.

Some transactions, according to Allaire, are larger than $100 million. Previously, the minimum ticket size for a trade at Circle was $250,000.

"That water mark will continue to rise," Allaire said.OTC trading occurs off exchange venues, such as Coinbase's GDAX or Kraken, for instance. The point of such desks is to provide a platform for high-net-worth crypto-holders and institutions to make large trades without impacting the broader market.Advertisement

As a alternative to crypto-exchanges, they typically have deeper liquidity to support such transactions. One industry insider told Business Insider that deeper liquidity in OTC markets has played into the growth of a number of trading shops.

"If I have $5 million, I can't do that trade on GDAX," the person said.

OTC desks can also provide a more secure alternative to crypto exchanges, which are known for hacks and outages.Advertisement

Circle, which counts investment bank Goldman Sachs as a a strategic backer, trades more than $2 billion in cyptocurency a month. It recently opened operations in Asia, Bloomberg reported.

Recently, Circle announced it acquired Poloniex, a cryptocurrency exchange. It plans to scale the business by bringing it to new markets, adding the number of coins on its platform, and enabling fiat-to-crypto transactions.

Elsewhere in the cypto OTC market, DRW's Cumberland operates a trading desk. Kraken, as Business Insider first reported, recently launched their own, too.Advertisement

A person familiar with operations at Genesis, another cryptocurrency trading shop, told Business Insider its average trade size has increased to about $300,000. The company trades $1 to $2 billion a month, the person said.

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