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San Francisco-based digital currency exchange Kraken has launched a new dark pool for bitcoin trades.

The dark pool, which functions as an invisible order book separate from its public offering, is intended to provide a means for traders to move more than 50 BTC (roughly $12,500 at press time) on the market in relative secret.

Dark pools are used throughout the global financial system, though the practice has faced rising scrutiny from regulators, and banks have been penalized in the past for unlawful activity within the dark pools they operate. Supporters of dark pools say they help stabilize markets and reduce costs.

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell said in a recent interview that users have approached the company in the past about such a feature, noting that previously, it would manually handle large orders at customer request.

"There’s been some people for a while going to us and saying they need to work a big trade," he said. "They have a few thousand bitcoin they want to move but they don’t want to put it on the order book because they’re afraid of what that’s going to do the price and structure of the market."

Kraken will charge an extra 0.1% on dark pool trades in addition to its standard trading fee, and is limiting access to customers with verified accounts.

Stock market graph via Shutterstock

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