Hitbtc: New Kid on the Bitcoin Trading Block

Is bitcoin a currency or technology? In many ways it acts as both, leading the digital currency to attract both

Is bitcoin a currency or technology?

In many ways it acts as both, leading the digital currency to attract both speculators and technologists.  Representing bitcoin’s duality are a plethora of products being created for its use such as online wallets, anonymous marketplaces like Silk Road, micro payment solutions, and exchanges.  Perhaps exchanges represent the best example of the dual perception of bitcoin with many venues like BTC-e and Bitfinex focusing on traders as they market features such as margin trading, charting packages, and open APIs.  On the other side of the spectrum are exchanges such as Bitstamp and itBit whose focus is geared towards providing users the ability to buy bitcoins often via local payment systems in a safe and transparent environment, with less consideration towards active trading.

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Alongside exchanges catering to traders, a relatively new firm hitting the market is hitbtc.  Aiming to attract active traders, hitbtc has launched with features appealing to its demographic including relatively low fees, charts, API connectivity, and EUR/USD which is in addition to the availability of the bitcoin and litecoin trading.  Taking a page from online forex and stock brokers, hitbtc also includes a demo trading platform where they are currently conducting a contest whose winners will receive an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

In our own brief evaluation of the platform, trades occurred quickly for DC Magnates with market and limit orders taking place with no issues.  A feature that we find useful is account segregation where users are issued one bitcoin account for trading purposes and another for deposits and withdrawals.  According to the company, this is done for security reasons. What we found though is that deposits and withdrawals became recognized immediately into the deposit/witdrawal account, similarly to any other online bitcoin wallet.

To learn more about hitbtc and their focus on traders, Digital Currency Magnates spoke to a representative of the exchange.  Formed by Edinburgh based Hit Technologies and bitcoin B2B provider Ullus Corporation of Copenhagen, the two firms operate the hitbtc trading brand together as it was explained that “Hit Technologies is a technological company that develops technological product and Ullus is a business unit responsible for business development, treasury and compliance process”.  It was added that marketing of hitbtc which includes the demo contests is being led by the exchange’s CMO Ruben Neumann and Head of PR David Dahan.

hitbtc platform

In addition to the corporate side hitbtc also provided answers about their trading operations to DC Magnates writer Leon Pick including their ambitious goals for the future.

It appears your volumes are pretty high- one of the highest in the world. Do the orders and liquidity on your exchange originate entirely from your users? Or do you add an market-making activity- either internally or from elsewhere?

The orders originate mostly from our users but we do use the services of external market makers. We do not do our market making internally.

What is your goal for volumes and market share 1 year from now?

Our goal is to be the biggest exchange in the world with at least 45% of the worldwide BTC volume.

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Apart from the FIX interface, what makes your technology more cutting-edge than elsewhere?

Our matching-engine, the responsiveness of our protocols, etc…

Can you expand upon the FIX interface?

The FIX interface is a type of API which abides to certain messaging standards which allows institutional traders to access an exchange without modifying their existing systems.

Do you have any other pairs traded besides the 3 shown?

We do have plans to expand the number of pairs being traded but we would rather not disclose these plans for now. We invite all interested parties to participate in our “choose the next coin” contest

Do you offer margin or short trading?

No, but this service will be offered by Brokers connected to our exchange

How much of the coins under your care are kept under cold storage- if any?

Yes we do use cold storage

Any plans for providing proof-of-reserves or proof-of-solvency, as done elsewhere?

Yes we are planning to provide an Audit of our reserves

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