Coinbase Backs $4.3 Million Raise for New Crypto Derivatives Exchange

Daniel Palmer
Aug 13, 2019 at 09:51 UTC
Updated Aug 13, 2019 at 11:12 UTC
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A new cryptocurrency derivatives exchange that hasn’t yet launched has already won backing from major investors including Coinbase.

Called Blade, the exchange platform is planning to go live in a few weeks with a focus on perpetual swaps, TechCrunch reported Monday.

The firm was founded by Jeff Byun and Henry Lee, who had previously launched a delivery startup that crypto-friendly payments firm Square acquired in part in 2017. The two have now brought some of the same investors in to back their new Blade venture.

Aside from Coinbase, investors in the $4.3 million seed round included SV Angel, A.Capital, Slow Ventures, Twitch.tv co-founder Justin Kan and Quora co-founder Adam D’Angelo.

Blade is taking a focus on perpetuals – a derivative product like a futures contract, but has no expiry or settlement date – because they are “arguably the fastest growing segment of cryptocurrency trading,” Byun told TechCrunch.

As well as allowing traders to take a position on the future value of cryptocurrencies against the U.S. dollar, swaps can be used to make bets on the price on one cryptocurrency against another.

Blade hopes to compete against other similar offerings from rival exchanges by offering simple contracts. It’s also offering margin and settlement in the stablecoin tether (USDT), as well as leverage as high as 150x on BTC/USD and BTC/KRW.

As the Korean won pair suggests, Blade is targeting the keen crypto trading markets in Asia. U.S. investors will not be allowed to use the platform, due to local regulatory issues.

Byun told TechCrunch:

“It’s kind of a bifurcated market. Either you have exchanges like Coinbase or Gemini or Bitrex that cater to the U.S. market that are highly regulated or the exchanges that cater to the non-U.S. market that are much less regulated, but that’s where most of the volume is.”

Image via CoinDesk archives