Bill Shihara, Bittrex CEO, in a recent UnikrnRadio podcast, stated that the US-based exchange would open up USD deposits and possibly dump Tether as a pairing.
First, regarding the capability of many exchanges, even the most significant ones like Bitstamp during December 2017, to keep pace with cryptocurrency demand, Shihara replied:
“Yes, there is going to be a time, I actually think it’s not that far away, when we are going to open up for global signups again, we will end up doing additional requirements, minimum deposit sizes, and things like that to trade, ensuring signs up that are coming in, are people who understand what they are doing […]demand has been pretty incredible.”
Currently, the exchange only deals in cryptocurrencies, with either bitcoin (BTC) or tether (USDT) serving as the pairing for all their listed cryptos.
Nevertheless, the CEO warned that “Bittrex will never be retail shop” and “the average person who knows nothing about crypto could or should trade on Bittrex.” Instead, Bittrex is targeting at institutional and professional traders.
Shihara also revealed how those businesses focused on retail investors have used Bittrex’s back-end to offer crypto to a wider audience, “One of the ways, we get the best of both worlds, we have these partnerships, such as Korean exchange Upbit, they use our liquidity, but is basically a retail shop in Korea. We’ve built this back-end infrastructure, and Upbit can just plug into it and build on top of it.”
More partnerships like the one with Upbit are coming in 2018, as the exchange’s chief hinted:
“We’re going to see more deals like that in the coming year. And we will be doing USD trading; this won’t be open to everybody, available for the majority of our customers as well as foreign partners that build on top of us.”
This comment is coming when suspicions of Tether have increased, with the CFTC subpoena against Bittrex and Tether made public on January 30. In case Tether was found to be artificially inflating the price of the crypto market and its altcoin was found not to have the appropriate back up to support the supply, it could potentially affect USDT-based exchanges, such as Bittrex and Poloniex. When he asked about how worrying is that, Shihara said:
“Tough question, we treat it as another altcoin. The market agrees Tether is backed by something, as it is trading as a dollar substitute. But I always tell people to do their research and be cautious in crypto.”
On the question of whether decentralized exchanges and atomic swaps will affect Bittrex in any significant way, Shihara said, “I think the technology has a long way to mature, we’ve got a long way to go before we see mature decentralized exchange solutions, especially trading the volume that we do on Bittrex.”
He added that decentralized exchanges already have their niches, saying for individual investors wanting to make a single trade with a fixed price in mind, and needs an escrow; a decentralized exchange is the best way to do that right now.
Other podcast topics were the history of Bittrex, the difficulty of raising capital in the aftermath of the bitcoin price implosion during 2015, and how the exchange chief initially got in bitcoin (by mining the cryptocurrency with a few friends). The CEO also revealed he doesn’t follow crypto Twitter too closely.