Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has confirmed that it has reached an agreement allowing customers to buy Bitcoin with US dollars.
‘It’s Been A Long Path’
Earlier today, Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara announced that the exchange had reached an agreement with New York-based Signature Bank, which – along with other financial institutions – will hold customers’ USD funds. Initially available only to corporate clients in Washington, California, New York, and Montana, the first USD trading pairs will be Bitcoin, Tether, and TrueUSD.
Shihara told Bloomberg:
It’s been a long path. […] It’s not just about banks being able to trust Bittrex. It’s about banks being able to trust crypto in general. And I think it’s really showing that crypto is turning the corner in terms of mainstream acceptance.
— Christian Kühl (@chrkuhl) May 31, 2018
Big Banks Lose Out
The move is equally conspicuous on the part of Signature. That the bank is based in New York, a jurisdiction infamous for its BitLicense scheme, is not without a touch of irony. The broad-reaching and overly invasive initiative has caused a number of cryptocurrency businesses to leave the state, while others have stopped serving New York residents altogether.
With several major US lenders – including Wells Fargo, which previously provided banking support for Bittrex – banning customers from purchasing cryptocurrencies with their bank-issued credit cards, smaller banks like Signature are stepping in to fill the void.
Speaking about the agreement, Shihara commented:
They really do look and pore through the entire business. […] They want to make sure that we’ve got robust AML/KYC processes, that we’ve got the right controls on our finances.
While Bittrex can now resume US dollar trading, other exchanges are struggling to gain banking support. The one exception seems to be Coinbase. The largest of the US exchanges, Coinbase continues to expand its suite of willing banking partners. In fact, they recently reached an agreement with UK lender Barclays to increase the ease with which UK users can buy and sell cryptocurrency for GBP.
What do you think about Bittrex offering fiat trading? Let us know in the comments section below!
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