By Stephen Gornick
Monday, July 18, 2011
The variety of currencies and exchanges where bitcoin is traded has been expanding, rapidly.
Canadian Dollar (CAD)
In July we’ve seen the first market exchange for Canadians with the VirtEx launch. In a few weeks over $100K CAD has traded on their BTC/CAD exchange, placing them well within the top ten of Bitcoin exchanges, by volume. Also newly opened for trading CAD is Canadian Bticoins, a fixed-rate exchange.
U.S. Dollar (USD)
Among BTC/USD exchanges, Camp BX is the newest and among the most ambitious. Camp BX is operated by BulBul Investments, LLC — a corporate entity registered with the State of Georgia. The exchange is among Bitcoin’s first to have market orders — orders that will fill regardless of the price, as well as the more common limit order. Though not enabled just yet, the exchange also plans to offer the ability to buy on margn and to short-sell bitcoins. Dwolla is the only USD funding method offered by this exchange.
Another fairly new BTC/USD exchange is ExchangeBitcoins.com. Exchange Bitcoins is a corporate entity registered with the State of California and has been trading for about a month. This exchange is the only exchange where USD deposits may be made by paper check. Dwolla is accepted for deposit as well. This exchange is also the first to offer withdrawals by check and they also offer direct deposit (ACH) for USD withdrawal as well. Volume at this exchange has been increasing and their BTC/USD exchange now places in the top 10 bitcoin markets, when ranked by volume.
TradeHill recently added the ability to withdraw USD funds as direct deposit (ACH) and they allow domestic and international wire transfer withdrawal as well. This organization’s BTC/USD exchange is now the second largest, by volume.
A novel funding method is offered by a new fixed-rate U.S.-based exchange, GetBitcoin. Among the funding methods offered by this exchange is the ability to buy bitcoins after mailing to them a prepaid debit card purchased from most any convenience store or supermarket.
Just last week Intersango from the Bitcoin Consultancy — a group that also operates Britcoin, opened its BTC/USD market. Funds may be added or withdrawn using Dwolla. Britcoin and Intersango’s two exchanges all use the same open source market exchange software built by the Bitcoin Consultancy.
E.U. region (EUR)
Nearly all the exchanges with EUR funding methods have undergone banking changes in recent days. Mt. Gox is currently running without a bank where EUR funds may be deposited though the exchange says that should be rectified by Tuesday July 19th.
A new EUR exchange launched this month as well — Intersango EUR exchange. EUR funds may be added or withdrawn as SEPA bank transfers. This is one of three exchanges that use the same open source market exchange software built by the Bitcoin Consultancy.
Another fairly new exchange, Bitcoin7, now accepts SEPA transfers of EUR funds as well. Bitcoin7 out of Bulgaria has been trading since mid-June and their BTC/EUR market is one of five currency markets they serve.
The U.S.-based exchange Camp BX indicates that they will be announcing a EUR funding method in August.
While BitMarket.eu itself doesn’t escrow EUR funds, it does operate a BTC/EUR market where EUR orders between buyers and sellers are matched.
British Pound Sterling (GBP)
Mt. Gox recently started accepting GBP deposits using its U.K. banking partner. GBP funds received are converted to USD for trading on Mt. Gox’s BTC/USD market. There are no GBP withdrawal methods yet with this exchange.
Britcoin’s BTC/GBP market remains among the top five bitcoin markets when ranked by trading volume This exchange is operated by the Bitcoin Consultancy which also operates the Intersango EUR and USD exchanges. All three run the same open source market exchange software.
Bitmarket.eu does compete with their BTC/GBP market as it attracts many users who wish to buy using PayPal.
Polish Zloty (PLN)
Bitomat’s BTC/PLN market continues to be the most active of all non-USD bitcoin markets, even with the BTC/PLN competition from Bitcoin7 and Bitmarket.eu.
Bulgarian Lev (BGN)
Bitcoin7’s home is in Bulgaria and they run the only BTC/BGN market. Though trading volumes are thin yet, the market does function.
Czech Republic Koruna (CZK)
Just days ago was launched Bitcoiny.cz, a BTC/CZK market.
Australian Dollar (AUD)
TradeHill’s BTC/AUD market is just days old but is the only AUD market thus far. They offer domestic AUD deposits and withdrawals through an AU banking partner.
AUD transfers may be sent to Mt. Gox but those funds are converted to USD for trading on the BTC/USD market. Mt. Gox recently started allowing AUD withdrawals through Technocash.
BitPiggy is a fixed-rate BTC/AUD exchange with the ability to send and receive AUD funds using the banking network.
Chinese Renminbi (CNY)
Bit currency China has been trading just about a month now and daily trading volume is increasing causing this exchange to be the fastest growing of all bitcoin exchanges. Another BTC/CNY exchange has emerged, doTen.co, in which bitcoins are bought and sold with AliPay — a Chinese payment network similar to PayPal.
Indian Rupee (INR)
TradeHill stands alone as the only exchange with a BTC/INR market and also the only exchange to offer a funding method for use by those who bank in India. With significant restrictions imposed on PayPal, bitcoin may start getting more attention in this country.
Saudi Riyal (SAR)
Bitcoin7 is the only exchange to operate a BTC/SAR market and at this time the exchange does not yet accept deposits of SAR funds. SAR withdrawals are available. It is not certain where SAR funds for placing bids originate then but there are bids and the trading spread is narrow.
Chilean Peso (CLP)
Trading volumes on TradeHill’s BTC/CLP market are low but it is a functioning market with a respectably narrow trading spread.
Second Life Lindens (SLL)
Trading on the BTC/SLL market operated by VirWoX remains strong thanks to it being one of the few methods available to PayPal users. It ranks in the top 10 bitcoin markets, by volume.
Liberty Reserve USD (LRUSD)
Many Bitcoin exchanges trade Liberty Reserve USD, which continues to be a widely used digital currency that is available through currency exchanges in many places around the world. The BTC/LRUSD markets that exist include TradeHill, Btcex (Russian), Bitcoin Central, and Bitcoin Market.
Mt. Gox will accept LRUSD for deposits and will allow LRUSD to be withdrawn so it might be considered a BTC/LRUSD exchange as well except LRUSD withdrawals from Mt. Gox experience significant delays.
Bitcoin Central remains the only BTC/LREUR market though Bitcoin7 accepts LREUR funds as being the equivalent to EUR funds deposited from a bank.
Brazilian Real (BRL)
A new exchange is set to launch this week. The launch countdown clock for Brazilian exchange Mercado Bitcoin shows a Wednesday launch.
Bitcoin Argentina also will trade bitcoins for BRL.
Another new exchange, BTC-E.com, was announced on the Russian forum on Bitcoin.org. BTC-E.com accepts deposits of WebMoney and funds sent through INTERKASSA. BTC-E is currently in testing before launch.
Rest of world (ROW)
There still are significant currency markets that have no bitcoin exchanges in operation yet. For instance, those wishing to add funds from Japan (JPY), Switzerland (CHF), New Zealand (NZD) or Hong Kong (HKD) have no exchanges specifically for these currencies but that doesn’t mean they are shut out. Trade in and out of bitcoin can occur through GoldMoney as that payment system accepts for deposit or withdrawal all of those currencies and others as well. Trade then between GoldMoney and bitcoins can occur over-the-counter as many bitcoin traders will exchange bitcoins for GoldMoney.
CurrencyFair is a P2P Forex service that is assisting Bitcoiners when trading other currencies as well.
With Bitcoin existing as an open technology and nothing more, there is no approval process required before it can be used for trading among other currencies or any restrictions that specify for what purposes it can be used. There is no issuer and there is no regulator. There is only a protocol, software and network connectivity.
As a result, these currency additions from these new exchanges add towards increasing the network effect propelling Bitcoin. They help to make bitcoin even more useful everywhere.
Because domestic bank transactions clear faster than international transfers, Bitcoin essentially minimizes the delays. With bitcoin, a slow cross-border payment can instead become two relatively quick domestic bank transfers.
The finality of Bitcoin payments (non-reversible and irrevocable), plus the speedy service (bitcoin funds are available for spending in about an hour) combined with the ultra low fees (pennies per transfer, no matter the amount) all help to explain why these exchanges were so badly needed. They also help to explain why we should expect to see so many more.
Oh look, another daisy! Ruxum, out of Hong Kong, was featured on TechCrunch. Their site, currently invite only, shows their intention to accept USD, EUR, GBP, and JPY funds via bank wire. Assuming the site is complete, it appears that the only bitcoin market traded will be BTC/USD.
Reprinted with permission.