OTC, or over-the-counter, trading occurs between two parties directly ー as opposed to over an exchange ー typically between an investment bank and its clients.
“We launched our OTC business as a complement to our exchange business because we found a lot of institutions were using OTC as an on-ramp for crypto trading,” said Christine Sandler, head of sales at Coinbase. “We felt this was a huge benefit to our clients to actually leverage both our exchange and our OTC business.”
Earlier this month, Coinbase began to permit its clients to trade any asset that trades on Coinbase Prime and order books through its web interface, Skype, Bloomberg IB, email or phone, according to documentation shared with some clients and obtained by Cheddar.
“Trades settle seamlessly and instantly, with funds available for immediate withdrawal” and “no possibility of a failed trade and no need to chase down wires and blockchain transfers,” the documentation said.
Sandler said the company plans to expand the service offering to include delayed settlement and will potentially integrate it with Coinbase Custody, its platform for hedge funds, exchanges and ICO teams that launched this past July.
In May, Business Insider reported that Coinbase would add support for OTC trades. Shortly after, Coinbase launched the Prime platform, designed to lure institutional investors with trading tools and with longer-term plans to present over-the-counter trading, algorithmic orders, and advanced market data products.
The timing of the rollout was opportunistic and a reaction to client demand, according to Sandler. Earlier this year, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’ Gemini launched OTC trading. Circle has a similar product, Circle Trade, through its February acquisition of Poloniex.