The pace at which bitcoin cash – the cryptocurrency that forked off the main bitcoin blockchain earlier this year – gained trading volume was "shocking," according to Circle's head of trading.
Speaking during a panel at CoinDesk's Consensus: Invest event in New York, Circle's Dan Matuszewski noted that the startup – which operates a trading desk and today unveiled a new investment-oriented app slated for release next year – was taken aback by the trading demand around bitcoin cash after it went live in early August.
"Bitcoin Cash got liquid and tradeable instantly, which was shocking to us. It was born out of nowhere … [and] became one of the biggest products we traded," he said.
Matuszewski spoke alongside Adam White, head of Coinbase's GDAX digital asset exchange; Michael Sonnenshein, GrayScale Investment director of sales and business development; and Hu Liang, founder of Omniex. The panel was moderated by Alex Sunnarborg, co-founder of Tetras Capital.
The panel – in part an introduction to the cryptocurrency industry for mainstream investors – focused on some of the challenges and considerations faced by those firms seeking to offer such services. Among those: assessing the legal standing of a particular token ahead of providing tools or resources around it.
On the question of demand among those investors, panelists spoke to what they characterized as a shifting landscape in which institutions are expressing interest – albeit cautiously.
"I think the narrative around this has really changed over the last 12 to 18 months," Sonnenshein said.
GDAX's White notably offered insight into the make-up of its user base.
"Largely by user count, most customers tend to be retail," he told attendees, noting that the trading volume itself is primarily driven by institutional-level customers.
According to Liang, the market remains a nascent one where the institutional investors in question are still largely on the sidelines.
"We haven't reached escape velocity yet," he said.
Disclosure: Grayscale Investments is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk's parent company. Digital Currency Group has an ownership stake in Circle and Coinbase.
Image via Nik De for CoinDesk
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