The previously Bitcoin-only platform, BitMEX, has opened up to the world’s largest and perhaps the most contentious stablecoin, Tether.
According to an exclusive press release shared by BitMEX, Tether (USDT) is slated to go live on the crypto exchange on 10th November at 04:00 UTC. With this, the traders can now formally begin margin trading and settle with Tether issued on the Ethereum network, i.e., ERC20-USDT on BitMEX.
Diversification in BitMEX’s offerings
Extreme price volatility during market downturns and sporadic rallies are a continuously growing part of the crypto landscape. Hence, market players are increasingly leveraging stablecoins as collateral to trade futures contracts. BitMEX’s latest move to bring USDT-margined contracts comes at a time of tremendous demand as different types of investors look for participation.
Out of the total nine USDT-margined products, seven are perpetual linear swaps on XBT, ETH, XRP, LTC, BCH, DOGE, and SOL, while the remaining two are linear futures contracts on XBT and ETH.
BitMEX is also leveling up its game by providing some incentives for its traders. They will be able to trade for free until 9th December, meaning, for the next 30 days, there will be no fees on any Tether-margined contracts. The derivatives exchange also revealed that it will transfer some USDT for affiliate purposes.
Ambitious Roadmap and Beyond Derivatives
Alexander Höptner, the CEO of BitMEX, revealed that the move is a part of embracing the “new tidal wave of retail adoption.” The exec emphasized that the introduction of USDT margined contracts has less to do with the stablecoin itself. Rather, it is about how the latest product offering paves the way for BitMEX to offer a new suite of products and trading opportunities for its daily users.
BitMEX’s primary goal is to move beyond derivatives. Notably, it dominated the derivatives space for quite some time. However, things changed after the Black Thursday crash of 2020. Since then, exchanges such as Binance, OKEx, Huobi have managed to lead in terms of the trading volume.
According to Höptner, BitMEX’s roadmap Beyond Derivatives and UDST-margined contracts are crucial milestones as it aims for a “highly ambitious transformation.” He also went on to add,
“But we’re also keeping the things that set BitMEX apart from the rest: superior trading technology, ironclad security, and the biggest insurance fund in the business.”
Earlier last week, BitMEX became one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to disclose their carbon-neutral status while also pledging to offset emissions of all BTC transactions to and from the platform.
BitMEX CEO Predicts Five Developing Countries Will Accept Bitcoin As Legal Tender Next Year – Here’s Why
BitMEX chief executive officer Alexander Höptner is predicting that five developing nations will follow in El Salvador’s footsteps and adopt Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender by next year.
In a blog post, the head of the crypto exchange says BTC will help citizens of developing countries financially by reducing the transaction fees associated with sending money across the globe.
“Remittances made up an astounding 23% of El Salvador’s GDP (gross domestic product) in 2020. Across the world, it’s nearly 10% of GDP in the Philippines, which has over 10 million overseas Filipino workers. According to World Bank data, low and middle-income countries receive about 75% of total global remittances.
This money has got to find a way home somehow. But the current system of remittances is…charging [people] an average of 10% just to send money home the next business day… People deserve better. So is it any surprise that Bitcoin – with its near-negligible fees and quick 24/7/365 transactions – would pique the interest of countries reliant on remittances?”
Höptner says another reason developing nations may adopt BTC is growing concerns of runaway inflation, something Bitcoin is not burdened by as it has a maximum supply cap of 21 million.
“The IMF (International Monetary Fund) forecasts 2021 inflation for developed countries at 2.4%. Its estimate for developing countries is more than double, at 5.4%. While consumers in advanced economies might be better placed to weather shocks, people in developing countries are more vulnerable, especially when the price of consumer goods and services is impacted…
Bitcoin fixes this, with its capped supply of 21 million. And developed countries – and/or their people – are noticing. “
Lastly, Höptner says the decision to adopt BTC as legal tender ultimately rests with political leaders and that El Salvador’s “leap of faith” has made it easier for them to take the plunge.
“On a macro level, those who will make the decision to make Bitcoin legal tender will be politicians or rulers. Bitcoin is many things – a technology, a store of value, and a means of payment.
It’s also a cultural touchstone and, at its core, an expression of the user’s lack of faith in the global financial system as presently constructed…
What El Salvador did is take the first leap of faith, making similar moves by other countries much easier to consider.”
BitMEX CEO predicts Bitcoin will be legal tender in five countries by 2022
In a Wednesday blog post, Höptner expressed support for El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender in September, predicting that developing countries will be “leading the way” in Bitcoin adoption:
“My prediction is that by the end of next year, we’ll have at least five countries that accept Bitcoin as legal tender. All of them will be developing countries.”
According to Höptner, developing countries will adopt Bitcoin faster due to three major factors: the growing need for cheaper and faster international remittances, massive inflation, and political issues.
As opposed to consumers in more developed countries, people in developing economies are more affected by issues related to cross-border payments and inflation, Höptner said.
The CEO noted that remittances made up 23% of El Salvador’s gross domestic product in 2020, while the World Bank assessed that low- and middle-income countries receive about 75% of total global remittances. He added that people around the world are increasingly looking at Bitcoin as a solution to weather massive inflation, citing rapid crypto adoption in Turkey amid a 19.2% inflation rate.
Höptner went on to say that El Salvador’s Bitcoin move will make it easier for other countries to consider similar moves. “But if it’s a reality that politics will play a big role in the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender, it’s also true that any failings by these leaders in the implementation phase may hurt wider adoption of cryptocurrencies in general,” he added.
A former CEO of German stock exchange Boerse Stuttgart, Höptner took over as CEO of BitMEX in December 2020, replacing Arthur Hayes.
Höptner is not alone in thinking that more countries will follow El Salvador’s lead in adopting Bitcoin. Last month, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson predicted that a lot more countries will adopt cryptocurrencies. World-renowned computer programmer Edward Snowden also believes that “latecomers may regret hesitating.”
Some major figures in the cryptocurrency space have been hesitant to praise El Salvador’s crypto adoption sparked by President Nayib Bukele. On Friday, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin criticized Bukele’s approach to adopting Bitcoin, arguing that forcing businesses to accept a specific cryptocurrency is “contrary to the ideals of freedom that are supposed to be so important to the crypto space.”
BitMEX CEO thinks this will drive Bitcoin adoption in 2022
Alexander Höptner, CEO of BitMEX, responded to Bitcoin critics in a recent blog post. He praised El Salvador’s policy decision, while also commenting on crypto-adoption in emerging markets. He said,
“What the critics fail to recognize is that developing countries like El Salvador are leading the world in embracing decentralized digital currencies and payments.”
“[El Salvador] they are choosing to try something new. This deserves praise, not derision.”
Days after El Salvador became the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, credit rating agencies and global regulators, including the IMF, had raised several concerns.
Bitcoin as legal tender… again?
As far as adoption is concerned, however, Chainalysis’s 2021 research confirmed that developing countries are leading the adoption index. The study stated reasons like inflation, ease of exchanging remittances, and carrying business transactions in emerging markets as being responsible for greater adoption.
Along similar lines, BitMEX’s CEO also made predictions for emerging markets. He asserted,
“My prediction is that by the end of next year, we’ll have at least five countries that accept Bitcoin as legal tender.”
According to the exec, all of the five countries will be developing countries. Additionally, he listed out reasons why developing countries will be the ones to jump into crypto next.
“The importance of this [remittances] cannot be overstated for many developing countries whose main export is human capital.”
Quoting World Bank figures, Höptner argued that$540 billion in remittances reached low and middle-income countries last year. Therefore, it is no surprise that Bitcoin’s “near-negligible fees and quick 24/7/365 transactions” are spiking interest.
Consider the example of Tonga, for example. In a recent interview, Tonga’s Member of Parliament Lord Fusitu’a had underlined the importance of low-cost remittances. He said,
“For remittance dependent countries and countries that suffer from hyperinflation, it’s not just the most sensible choice – it’s almost our only choice for survival…”
In the context of inflation, Höptner believes that “Covid-19-related stimulus” has raised those concerns. On the back of the pandemic, the IMF had also claimed that due to several factors, emerging markets and low-income countries are more vulnerable to inflation.
Politics of Bitcoin
Having said that, the road to Bitcoin adoption is still not simple. According to the exec,
“Politics will play a big role in the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender…”
This means failure by politicians in implementation will “hurt wider adoption of cryptocurrencies in general.” Just like the dream of “economic liberation” with Bitcoin adoption still remains debatable in El Salvador.
Meanwhile, large transaction volumes on peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms also continue to drive the adoption index in many emerging markets, as per Chainalysis.