Following Ethereum’s production-ready software release earlier this month, digital currency exchanges are now adding support for the native token that powers its blockchain, ether (ETH).
In recent weeks, the majority of announcements have come from Asia, where exchanges in China, Japan and South Korea have all added support for ETH trading. Such actions follow the news that Bitfinex, one of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges, had added support for the digital currency on 12th March.
Regional exchanges that have since announced support for ETH trading including Coincheck, CHBTC, Korbit and Quoine – exchanges that have raised upwards of $5m in combined venture funding.
Quoine CEO Mario Gomez Lozada reported that his Singapore-based exchange has already seen an influx of trading activity for ether, telling CoinDesk:
“We did a few thousand ether on launch day, most of it from Japanese traders, and we reached over 1,000 BTC trading volume in ETH/BTC shortly after. Our Japanese traders immediately embraced ether.”
The announcements coincide with escalating interest in ether trading after its market capitalization rose above $1bn earlier this month. At press time, its market cap had subsided, declining to roughly $937m after a period of price volatility.
The price of ether at press time was under $12 across exchanges, a figure buoyed by trader interest in the digital currency.
Exchange representatives voiced enthusiasm for Ethereum, as well as their hope that it could extend the market for digital currencies by making headway on use cases where bitcoin startups have yet to find success.
“Bitcoin was all about money. We hope Ethereum will be everything other than money. Therefore, it’s natural for us to support ether,” Coincheck business development lead Kagayaki Kawabata told CoinDesk.
Coincheck has since added support for leveraged ether trading, allowing traders to borrow up to five times leverage on ether trades.
Kawabata indicated that interest in Ethereum remains low, but he suggested that corporate interest, on the level of a regional Microsoft lending support, could boost awareness.
Further, Gomez Lozada said that he believes Ethereum is attracting new traders to his exchange and fostering interest in digital currencies and blockchain tech.
“We have seen new traders joining the platform and exclusively trading ETH,” he said.
Still, not all of the region’s exchanges are ready to embrace Ethereum. Xu Qing, a spokesperson for Huobi, said it is interested in the technology developments but that it has no plans to add support for ether.
“We still keep an open mind to outstanding [digital currencies]. Any new digital currency needs time for market validation and acceptance ranging from issuing mechanisms to market liquidity.”