Bitfinex to Launch Ether Trading Along With the Homestead Release

News and Analysis
12.03.2016

Just before the Homestead release Bitfinex bitcoin exchange announced forthcoming Ethereum support. At noon on the Pi Day, March 14, ETH/USD and ETH/BTC trading pairs will be introduced adding more liquidity to the overall market.

The press release published on Bitfinex site reads:

“Bitfinex is pleased to announce upcoming support for trading Ether.  While we are generally wary of adding new digital assets to the platform and believe that Ether’s future as a store of value is quite uncertain, it is, nonetheless, hard to ignore the Ether trading volumes at other exchanges and the many requests we have received from our customers to add Ether trading pairs.  As such, we will begin trading Ether against both US dollar and bitcoin on Monday, March 14th at noon UTC.  Starting immediately, however, customers will be able to deposit Ether into their exchange wallets.

It is our plan to allow shorting and margin trading on Ether as soon as we are comfortable with the book depth and availability of Ether for lending, but that will depend on the community’s support for Ether trading on our platform as Bitfinex itself is not a market participant in its own markets.  Assuming strong adoption of Ether trading on our platform, we could enable shorting and margin trading in less than a week.  We do not yet know what sort of leverage ratios we will permit on Ether, but given Ether’s substantial volatility relative to bitcoin, we may, in fact, initially allow less leverage than we do on bitcoin.”

The introductory pricing will be presented at least until the end of March – zero fees for market makers and 0.2% fee for market takers. This is mostly interesting because of Poloniex recent announcement as to raising fees for market takers.

The announcement itself caused some controversial talks within the trading community as the company denied its plans to add Ether trading option for months.

During the Q/A session held on December 4, Zane Tackett, Bitfinex’s Director of Community & Product Development, clearly stated the exchange did not have any plans for Ethereum:

“Right now we don’t have any plans to add any other altcoins. Me personally (not bitfinex per se), i’m kind of a bitcoin elitist, i do believe all of the alts have their roles to play but i’d like to see how far we can take bitcoin and would personally prefer to focus on that.

I’m well aware of ethereums promise, i’ve been following it for a while and have talked with Vitalik and others from the Ethereum team on numerous occasions. I know that it is receiving a lot of interest from banks, and has a lot of capabilities. But for the time being we don’t have any plans to add eth to the exchange. Sorry,” he said.

Two weeks ago, however, there was another burst of rumors when ETH/BTC and ETH/USD trading pairs were spotted on beta.bitfinex.com, the exchange’s testing site.

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Bitfinex officials, however, were quick to deny their plans regarding Ethereum:

“We do not have any plans to add Ethereum to Bitfinex. The picture that has been circulated wasn’t falsified or anything, but it’s also disingenuous to point to that as proof that we are adding Ethereum.

We were having discussions on whether or not we wanted to add eth to the exchange and decided that either way we should ensure we have the ability to easily add currency pairs in the future, whether it be ETH/BTC, BTC/EUR, ALT/BTC, and so we were doing some testing on the UI and in the backend to see what would be required to add a currency pair. That’s what you guys were seeing.

Sorry to disappoint, but that’s all this was. As I said, we do not have any plans to add eth,” commented Zane Tackett on Reddit back then.

While the current announcement sounds quite official, the previous denials have made the community somewhat suspicious of the exchange’s true motives:

“To be completely honest, at this time we still didn’t have any plans to add ethereum. The decision was made quite recently,” Tackett replied to Reddit comments.

Today yet another exchange announced its plans to launch ETH/CNY trading on Pi Day.

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