Ethereum Expands Across Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Ethereum’s native token, Ether (ETH) has once been nearly worthless. However, this year it has demonstrated immense growth. For instance, ETH managed to overtake the second position in market cap rankings, having ejected Ripple and Litecoin. These results could hardly seem surprising to those who witnessed the project’s recent activity.

Adding to evident interest from investors, the option was integrated in Microsoft’s Azure platform. Umbrella organization for major financial institutions, R3CEV also uses Ethereum network to run its blockchain tests.

Some community members believe Ether may eventually supersede even Bitcoin in terms of highest market cap. However, there is an obvious obstacle for that to come true: ETH’s exchangeability is dubious. Ethereum’s tokens haven’t been as easy to exchange as Litecoin, Dogecoin, or Dash, as most popular exchanges offer mostly ETH/BTC exchanging, which causes users to spend much time and money to get their assets. Absence of developed infrastructure is also considered among the reasons why Ether cannot successfully compete Bitcoin. The situation, however, is changing now as more and more cryptocurrency exchanges add ETH to their platforms.

Thus, one of the world’s biggest exchanges Bitfinex announced in March it would add Ether to the list of its trading options. While usually being very cautious about new cryptocurrencies, the company could not ignore its customers’ calls for supporting ETH, as well as increasing trade volumes at other platforms. Still, the exchange warned that Ethereum as a reliable store of value is questionable.

The exchange added ETH-USD and ETH-BTC pairs on March 14.

“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 platform’s blog post read.

Meanwhile, Uphold announced it would add Ethereum to its platform in May. Though criticized for alleged withdrawal from original bitcoin philosophy after its rebranding from Bitreserve, Uphold – a wording no one could possibly resist – stated it still upholds cryptocurrency. Additionally, the company works with fiat currencies and precious metals.

In late March, Japan’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck also added Ethereum to its trading platform. The exchange has been drawing some attention for a time being, as it offers usage of traditional means like bank transfers or credit cards to deal with cryptocurrency. The platform also offers some tools for advanced traders, like margin, stop-loss, or leveraged trading. Those features applied to Ether trades may make it interesting for more complex financial operations.

A few days later, Korean exchange Korbit also announced its support of Ethereum at their trading markets in an e-mail sent to customers. Even though it may sound very pleasant to some Ethereum fans that two major Asian exchanges have added Ethereum nearly simultaneously, one should remember that Korea hasn’t come to terms with Bitcoin, and no platform currently offers exchange of Ethereum against the local national currency, Won. However, absence of any legal framework in the country may facilitate other kinds of operations, as they do not require any identification.

The problem of converting Ether to fiat is what Austria-based startup Coinimal is concerned with. Recently it has added new functions enabling users to exchange ETH directly against fiat currency of choice. ETH has been tradeable at Coinimal’s site since August 2015, and it managed to become a very popular option. However, the lack of options for converting ETH against fiat is still a problem which Coinimal, as they state, seeks to solve.

Meanwhile in Mexico, local cryptocurrency exchange Bitso opted to cover the same issue by providing an option to trade Ether for Mexican pesos. The company states it has become the first to trade ETH for MXN. Bitso’s CEO Pablo Gonzalez said in a statement:

“We believe in a future where Bitcoin and Ethereum are deeply compatible – Bitcoin being used as the means to store and transfer value, and Ethereum as the engine for the creation of next gen financial applications. It was only natural for us to incorporate Ether trading to Bitso, and thus open access to this exciting innovation to all Mexicans. We can’t wait to see the things that the brilliant minds in this country create using this technology.”

Just recently, on April 13, CEX.io joined the ranks of Ethereum-trading platforms by adding ETH/BTC and ETH/USD pairs. The company said it was supporting innovations and invited everyone to buy, sell and trade Ether tokens at their platform. According to Bitcoinist.net, there is around half a million users at the platform, who also have an option of buying cryptocurrency with their banking cards.

Finally, Ether Camp developers updated a BTM to make it sell ETH instead of BTC. They used Lamassu’s machine to update its source code. The developers went on even further stating a BTM may be modified to work with smart contracts or maintain voting for a decentralized autonomous organization. The first Ethereum ATM is located in California.

While Ether’s market cap is still far behind that of Bitcoin, the continuously expanding and developing infrastructure may eventually cause the situation to change.

by Jenny Aysgarth