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Kraken buys Circle Trade OTC desk, Circle to focus on USDC stablecoin


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Out with the old, in with the new, out with the new, in with the newer

Less than two years after acquiring the Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange, Circle sold it off.

And now it's shedding the prominent Circle Trade OTC desk, which has been acquired by the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken.

"Our industry-leading, global OTC desk, run by Wall Street veteran Nelson Minier, will now expand to more than 20 global professionals, deepening our ability to provide the personal, white-glove service that you expect from Kraken," the exchange said.

"We have known and admired Jesse and his team at Kraken for many years, and we have every confidence and expectation that Circle Trade customers and partners will continue to find best-in-class OTC liquidity service and responsiveness through Kraken going forward," said Circle co-founders Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville.

Sign of the times

In 2018, Circle says it facilitated more than US$75 billion worth of transactions all up. A large chunk of that was with the OTC Desk, which did more than $24 billion in notional volume. In mid-2018, it raised its minimum trade size to half a million dollars, citing high demand.

"That watermark will continue to rise," Circle predicted at the time.

But it didn't, and the following year The Block would describe Circle Trade as "once mighty" on multiple occasions. In other areas, earlier this year Circle shut down its Circle payment app and more recently paused its Circle Research branch.

The USDC Circle stablecoin remains, however, and these cuts are reportedly part of a wider effort to tighten focus on the development of the stablecoin.

It may be a sign of changing focuses in the cryptocurrency world, that even last year during the depths of the so-called "crypto winter", there was still a lot of trade volume and coins changing hands.

But with the emergence of Libra, central bank digital currencies and even talk of global digital currencies entering the fray, stablecoins are one of the biggest trends in crypto right now.

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Disclosure: The author holds BNB and BTC at the time of writing.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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