Deribit, the world's largest crypto options exchange, is entering the spot trading space.
The company announced late Wednesday that it is launching a zero-fee spot exchange on April 24. The move comes shortly after rival Binance's zero-fee spot trading campaign ended late last month.
"We have been working on the implementation of the spot trading solution for the past few months," Luuk Strijers, Deribit's chief commercial officer, told The Block. "We now are able to offer clients a full spectrum of trading opportunities that encompass both derivatives and spot trading."
At launch, Deribit will offer spot trading with three pairs: BTC/USDC, ETH/USDC and ETH/BTC. It might list more coins, according to Strijers, but zero fees won't last for the long term. Free trading will exist "for the foreseeable future," he said.
Deribit's entry into spot trading comes seven years after its inception.
The exchange is currently the leader in the crypto options market, with over 90% share of open interest in both bitcoin and ether options trading, according to The Block's Data Dashboard.
Open interest is the value of outstanding derivative contracts that are yet to be settled.
Last year, Deribit had challenging times as it had to liquidate Three Arrows Capital's (3AC's) positions after the now-bankrupt crypto hedge fund failed to meet its margin calls. In turn, Deribit took a "small" hit and later went on to raise $40 million from existing shareholders at a $400 million valuation.
The company was valued at $2.1 billion in its previous funding round in August 2021. Strijers at the time said the valuation “is essentially irrelevant” because the fundraising came from existing investors.
Deribit's retail strategy
Deribit plans to attract more retail users with its spot trading launch, said Strijers. It also plans to get a crypto license in Dubai and move its headquarters to the city from Panama.
Whether Deribit will mirror its options performance in the spot market, which Binance currently leads, remains to be seen. Strijers said, "As the digital asset space continues to evolve, trading venues will have to grow alongside it and ensure the ecosystem remains secure, transparent and compliant."
Deribit's spot exchange, like its derivatives platform, won't be available for users in the U.S. and some other restricted countries, Strijers said.
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