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What Is Over-The-Counter?
Over-the-counter (OTC) refers to the process of how securities are traded for companies that are not listed on a formal exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Securities that are traded over-the-counter are traded via a broker-dealer network as opposed to on a centralized exchange. These securities do not meet the requirements to have a listing on a standard market exchange.
Trade transactions take place through the Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) or the Pink Sheets listing services. The OTCBB is an electronic quotation and trading service that facilitates higher liquidity and better information sharing. A Pink Sheet company is a private company that works with broker-dealers to bring small company shares to market.
Over-the-counter (OTC) refers to the process of how securities are traded for companies not listed on a formal exchange.
Securities that are traded over-the-counter are traded via a dealer network as opposed to on a centralized exchange.
OTC trading helps promote equity and financial instruments that would otherwise be unavailable to investors.
Companies with OTC shares may raise capital through the sale of stock.
With regard to the cryptocurrency industry, OTC desks have gained popularity among those who are willing to sell large amounts of coins, like miners or early crypto investors. On the other hand, there are plenty of investors — including high-profile ones — willing to buy crypto without resorting to major exchanges.
The OTC market is considered particularly promising by crypto investors. Perhaps this is why major companies such as Binance, Coinbase and Circle kept opening their own OTC desks right in the midst of the crypto winter, when the rates of bitcoin and major altcoins were far from optimistic.
According to some estimates, crypto OTC trading currently has larger daily volumes than the major exchanges. For instance, investigators from Digital Assets Research and TABB Group found out that the OTC market facilitated $250 million to $30 billion in trades per day in April 2018, while the exchanges handled about $15 billion in daily trades during the same period. (Cointelegraph)
Main Crypto OTC Customers
Crypto miners who sell their profits represent a significant segment of OTC market sellers, while hedge funds and institutional investors are among the buyers.
In October 2018, Cumberland OTC desk, the Chicago-based crypto trading unit of DRW Holdings LLC, revealed that most of its deals took place during Asian working hours. The experts then told Bloomberg it might be a sign that Asia-based miners, such as Bitmain’s Antpool and BTC.com, were liquidating their coins via OTC trading.
However, the OTC market is obviously far from being dependant on miners. According to an investigation performed by Reuters, this type of trading also involves wealthy investors, payment processors and, increasingly, hedge funds. As per 2018, the notable players on this market were men in their mid-20s or early 30s. The trades were mostly performed via online messaging services like Telegram or Skype, through brokers or on specialized OTC desks.
Incidentally, some experts believe that institutional investors, who are expected to drive crypto industry to mass adoption, are widely interested in buying crypto outside large exchanges. This statement has partly been corroborated by the recent news about the top 100 crypto companies — such as Huobi, Coinbase and Bithumb — launching their own OTC desks exclusively for institutional clients.
To sum up, everyone who wants to buy or sell large amounts of crypto without excessive regulation (and sometimes on better terms) applies to OTC trading or intermediaries working in the sphere.