Crypto lending services BlockFi on Thursday announced the launch of a digital asset trading platform, targeted to both retail and institutional investors.
Dubbed BlockFi Trading, the platform will initially allow trading in three digital assets – Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Gemini dollar.
With its new product, BlockFi is entering a highly competitive market of digital asset exchanges where players like Binance and Coinbase are dominating. To cut into the saturated market, the platform will not charge any fees to execute trades.
Commenting on the new platform, Zac Prince, founder and chief executive of BlockFi, said: “To date, we have focused on providing products to existing crypto investors that are readily available to investors in other asset classes. With the launch of trading, we are taking a big step in the direction of enabling net new investors to come into the ecosystem.”
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“Growth of the crypto market overall benefits the entire industry and we’re excited to shift our focus in that direction, in addition to adding products and features that expand the value proposition for our existing clients.”
The lucrative business of crypto lending
Founded in 2017, BlockFi offers crypto lending services, offering loans to those who are interested in borrowing crypto, starting from $2,000, and going as high as $100 million, against Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin at a 4.5 percent interest rate.
It is backed by billionaire Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Capital, and raised nearly $79 million in various funding rounds, according to CrunchBase. The Winklevoss twins’ Gemini exchange is providing custody of BlockFi accounts, which recently added digital asset insurance coverage.
The announcement also outlined that the company completed MSB registration with FinCen and has expanded their state licensing strategy to include money transmission licenses in addition to its existing state lending licenses. These were done prior to the launch of its trading services.
Meanwhile, in its core crypto lending business, BlockFi is facing competition from players like Blockchain.com, which launched a crypto lending service last month.