Bitcoin services provider Coinbase officially launched its exchange product today to consumers in 24 states.
The news follows what proved a dramatic runup to the launch, one sparked by a single teaser tweet that caused speculation to run rampant Sunday. Speculation was put to rest later in the afternoon, however, when Coinbase confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that its “Lunar project” would be an exchange.
At launch, the Coinbase exchange website proved glitchy, with pages failing to completely load for some users, and others reporting difficulty accessing the service.
— Mike Johnson (@mkjohnson1974) January 26, 2015
Coinbase's announcement comes during a rush of news reports that suggest the US bitcoin exchange market is about to be greeted by new high-profile entrants.
Just days ago, VC investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss announced they would seek to launch an exchange called Gemini as soon as New York's BitLicense regulation is finalized.
Using the exchange
Despite the minor issues experienced at launch, CoinDesk was able to successfully complete an order on the exchange.
Though known for user-friendly products, the Coinbase exchange seems to cater to a more experienced audience. The interface appears without a tutorial or guide that might walk new users through the process.
To begin trading, users must first fund their BTC or USD accounts. They then enter the amount they wish to sell and the price at which they want to make the exchange.
Funds are then visible in the top left of the navigation window. Elsewhere, the exchange boasts an order book and trade history, as well as price chart and depth chart.
CoinDesk was able to fill its order quickly and received funds without issue. Prices on the Coinbase exchange aligned with those observed on the CoinDesk USD Bitcoin Price Index.
For all the excitement, it remains to be seen whether Coinbase’s offering can compete with the more established international exchange market leaders like Bitfinex, Bitstamp and OKCoin, though it will have a head start against other US-based institutions.
The exchange has already garnered the interest of at least one notable bitcoin industry participant, the trading division at illiquid asset exchange SecondMarket, chaired by bitcoin investor Barry Silbert.
At launch, volume was roughly 1,897 BTC. However, at press time, volume on the exchange was trending upward, reaching 3,422 BTC. By comparison, the 30-day average for USD/BTC exchange leader Bitfinex trades 184,862 BTC per day according to Bitcoin Charts.
Coinbase reports it traded 4,628 BTC during its first two hours of operation.
More information on the exchange offering, including content regarding its matching engine, fee model and API can be found on its website.
Images via Coinbase