SoftBank-Backed Broker Avenue To Offer Bitcoin Trading

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Avenue Securities, a U.S.-based securities brokerage firm specialized in serving Brazilian customers, will offer bitcoin trading services beginning next month, according to a Bloomberg report.

“That is beyond a shadow of a doubt the project with the biggest demand from our clients,” Roberto Lee, Avenue’s founder and CEO, told Bloomberg. “Our surveys show that about 15% of our almost 500,000 customers will start trading cryptocurrencies on the first day we offer the service.”

Brazilians are big into bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading. The country has seen trading volume in the burgeoning market nearly match its stock exchange, B3, as investors pile up into bitcoin.

Avenue now wants to cater to that demand, bringing competitiveness in pricing as an attractiveness point to lure investors into its suite of products.

According to the report, Avenue will operate with eight liquidity providers to offer no-fee trading for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, bringing down prices by as much as 8% compared to Brazilian markets that trade in reais, the country’s currency.

“The trading volume of cryptocurrencies in reais is still very thin compared to dollar volume, and that makes a difference in price formation,” Lee said. “People will really see a difference.”

Price is definitely a point of consideration for many investors as high liquidity limits the possible spread and allows for bigger purchases in bulk. Moreover, no fees translate to more money being poured into the bitcoin investment.

However, the firm expects competition to increase this year as big banks also turn their eyes to the promising – and lucrative – Bitcoin world.

In December, Brazil’s second-biggest bank by market value, Bradesco announced a collaboration with Miami-based fintech BCP Global to offer digital investment services to upper-middle-class and rich Brazilians, which almost completely overlaps with Avenue’s target audience.

“Probably what we will see in 2022 is the arrival of big Brazilian competitors to our business, and we are going to answer that by becoming more complete, by offering not only a U.S. bank account but also more and more products,” Lee said.

It is unclear whether Avenue customers will be able to withdraw bitcoin to self-custody wallets.

Avenue declined to comment.

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