The first U.S.-based Bitcoin exchange network is now in the works, hours after MtGox, once the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, vanished.
SecondMarket, the alternative asset management firm currently overseeing the world’s largest Bitcion investment vehicle, plans to spin off its Bitcoin desk into a brand new company that would become a fully regulated Bitcoin trading hub.
Using London’s Intercontinental Exchange commodities market as a model, SecondMarket CEO Barry Silbert said he envisions as a hub and spoke arrangement, with his firm serving as a “meta-exchange” through which certified member exchanges and market-makers could trade with one another.
The organisation would serve three roles: price discovery, central clearing, and, most ambitiously, as a self-regulatory organisation, like FINRA. SecondMarket would front $US20 million in cash and Bitcoin assets.
“We have half a dozen conversations ongoing with global banks, a high level of interest and early support from global banks to be part of this,” he told BI by phone Tuesday. “We’ve spent a fair amount of time with regulators, they’re very aware of what we’re doing.”
SecondMarket is also hoping to expand its offering of products for investing in digital currencies.
This is not the first time Silbert has stepped in to provide support to the Bitcoin industry as MtGox has teetered: Two weeks ago, as the exchange first announced it was suspending withdrawals, Silbert announced it would begin serving as a market-maker for Bitcoin holders.
The final format for the exchange is still under reconsideration. Silbert said Bitcoin’s current 24-hour trading has exacerbated Bitcoin’s volatility, and that his network is potentially considering mimicking the gold market, where a single new baseline price would be set each day, off of which the marketplace would trade.
The network could also help set the stage for the advent of Bitcoin derivatives products, the lack of which many Bitcoin users say has also contributed to Bitcoin’s instability.
As for the end of MtGox, Silbert said the end of MtGox may prove a boon in the longrun to Bitcoin.
“The sooner that MtGox goes away, the better.”
Silbert said he hopes to put together the network’s founding members by the end of next month. The decision must first be approved by SecondMarket’s board.
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