Gemini Trust Co., the U.S.-based digital-currency exchange founded by entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, is introducing a daily bitcoin auction to facilitate price discovery and larger trades at lower costs.
The auctions, to be held at 4 p.m. New York time every day including holidays and weekends, at first will support just bitcoin-to-U.S. dollar trading, and will eventually expand to more currencies. Auction trades will be eligible for as much as a 0.15 percent rebate on trading fees, Gemini said.
By adding daily auctions starting Wednesday, Gemini is bringing to bitcoin a feature that’s long been available on exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and Bats Global Markets for other asset classes. It’s a step toward making the digital currency more attractive, and easier to use by institutional as well as retail investors, Gemini Chief Executive Officer Tyler Winklevoss said in an interview.
"We believe this is the first-ever end-of-day bitcoin exchange auction," Winklevoss said. "Auctions create greater price discovery and liquidity, resulting in a very meaningful final auction price. If you were building a securities exchange today, an auction would be a core feature."
Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day, but a buyer wishing to purchase a lot of bitcoins may be out of luck at 2 a.m., when there aren’t many sellers around. Gemini hopes to overcome that issue by designating the time when financial markets traditionally close for buyers and sellers to come together and trade. The feature will also help establish the daily bitcoin trading price.
The auctions are being introduced just as Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust -– a bitcoin exchange-traded fund -- is awaiting listing on Bats. The fund’s bitcoin price will be valued daily at 4 p.m. Eastern based on the spot price on Gemini, according to a recent filing. Tyler Winklevoss declined to comment on when the fund may be listed.
“We view the launch of an end-of-day auction as a significant step forward for Gemini and the bitcoin industry,” Bats CEO Chris Concannon said in an e-mailed statement.
Gemini has operated in the U.S. since last October, after being licensed by New York’s Department of Financial Services. In recent months, the exchange has been expanding into other countries, such as Canada. It does not provide its user or growth numbers.
Gemini is expanding its suite of services as the technology behind bitcoin finds uses in industries ranging from supply chain to finance, and more people around the world open bitcoin accounts. The price of bitcoin reached $607.31 on Tuesday, almost triple its value a year ago, according to CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index.