The feature – which will allow customers to make high-volume trades that won’t appear in the exchange’s order book until they’ve been filled – will go live at 9:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Gemini explained in a blog post. There’s a minimum threshold of 10 bitcoin or 100 ether for the block trades, meaning that smaller traders won’t be able to use the feature.
Gemini has positioned the block trading addition as a way to create “an additional mechanism to source liquidity when trading in greater size.”
Block trading allows large traders such as hedge funds to buy or sell large quantities without having large immediate effects on the price. The alternative is to place over-the-counter trades, which happen outside of exchanges, or to split trades up into smaller chunks in order to minimize the impact to supply and demand.
Market takers – who place the orders – specify whether the trade is a buy or sell; the minimum quantity; and a price limit. This information, called an indication of interest, is broadcast to all market makers simultaneously.
“In accordance with our commitment to an equitable, transparent, and rules-based marketplace, block orders will be electronically broadcast to participating market makers simultaneously, ensuring best execution and price discovery for those participating in the program,” the exchange explained in its blog post.
Gemini, founded by investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, had indicated last month that the exchange may move to add additional cryptocurrencies for trading in the future. Potential selections include bitcoin cash and litecoin, as reported at the time.
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