Best OTC Crypto Exchanges December 2022

  • November 17, 2022
  • 16 Min Read

6 Best OTC Crypto Trading Brokers & Exchanges 2022

There are countless crypto OTC desks out there, but only a handful have the liquidity and reputation of world-class exchanges. Below are our picks for the top crypto OTC desks.

OTC DeskMinimum Trade SizeAvailable in the USStandout Feature
Coinbase PrimeUnknownYesProvides institutional-grade storage for NFT assets
Kraken$100,000YesAutoRFQ feature allows for instant OTC trades
FalconXUnknownYesBest for traditional institutions looking to get into crypto.
Binance$200,000YesOTC trading available to everyday retail traders
Crypto.com$50,000YesComprehensive ecosystem beyond just OTC
Genesis Global Trading$250,000YesThe original crypto OTC exchange, stellar reputation

1. Coinbase Prime

Coinbase Prime
Minimum Trade SizeAvailable in the USStandout Feature
Coinbase PrimeUnknownYesProvides institutional-grade storage for NFT assets

From the US’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, comes their OTC offering: Coinbase Prime. The platform inherits Coinbase’s stellar reputation to make trading services available to institutions and large traders.

Pros

  • Provides NFT Custody
  • Over 300 supported assets for trading
  • Provides OTC staking and governance

Cons

  • Unclear account and trading minimums
  • Coinbase is traditionally under heavily regulatory scrutiny
  • Higher fees than other exchanges

OTC Trading Crypto on Coinbase Prime

In their own words, Coinbase Prime is “built for asset managers, hedge funds, VCs, endowments, private equity, private wealth managers, and sovereign wealth funds.”

The exchange also provides some features normally not supported by OTC exchanges ,including safe custody of NFT assets and participation in staking and governance for supported tokens.

Coinbase Prime

Features

  • Access liquidity from other “supported exchanges” outside of Coinbase
  • Secure offline cold storage for custodied assets
  • Fully featured app for OTC traders
  • $320 million in insurance coverage
  • API for automated trading

2. Kraken

Kraken OTC Desk
Minimum Trade SizeAvailable in the USStandout Feature
Kraken$100,000YesAutoRFQ feature allows for instant OTC trades

Kraken is a large cryptocurrency exchange known for its wide range of features and large markets. Kraken OTC is the company’s institutional trading platform.

Pros

  • Request live quotes and execute trades instantly with Kraken’s Request-For-Quote system
  • Wide range of supported assets
  • The exchange prices-in all fees automatically

Cons

  • Unclear feature set beyond just trading
  • Not available to residents of Japan
  • Long application form

OTC Trading Crypto on Kraken

Kraken’s OTC service supports trading across all of the coins supported on the traditional Kraken exchange. The platform uses a Request-For-Quote system which enables traders to enter the price, timing, and details of their trade and then get individually matched with a counter-party willing to execute their trade.

As with other exchanges, Kraken OTC also provides 1 on 1 service for clients and 24/7 support for traders.

Kraken OTC desks

Features

  • 1 on 1 service
  • Flexible settlement options within 24 hours for trades
  • Support for trade over chat
  • Self-place trades using the platform’s AutoRFQ system

3. FalconX

FalconX OTC desk
Minimum Trade SizeAvailable in the USStandout Feature
FalconXUnknownYesBest for traditional institutions looking to get into crypto.

Serving as a blend between Wall Street and Silicon Valley, FalconX is a professional OTC trading exchange for institutions and large crypto holders.

Pros

  • Serves exclusively institutional and high-net-worth clients
  • Can use funds to borrow against staked assets
  • Provides market-making services for new projects and coin launches

Cons

  • Complex institutional instruments that may not be familiar to the everyday trader
  • Primarily focuses on institutions new to crypto rather than existing crypto traders
  • Relatively new to the space

OTC Trading Crypto on FalconX

FalconX employs machine learning and data science to provide the best prices to their customers. The platform focuses on providing credit and clearing facilities to large institutions that allow them to take on margined positions and trade them all in one platform.

FlaconX OTC desk

Features

  • Custom borrowing rates based on market conditions
  • Institutional credit facility for big-margin trades
  • Borrowing against staked assets
  • White-glove service for custom advanced trading scenarios and situations
  • Market-making services for new crypto projects

4. Binance

Binance OTC desk
Minimum Trade SizeAvailable in the USStandout Feature
Binance$200,000YesOTC trading available to everyday retail traders

Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by trading volume. They have an excellent reputation in the crypto community for deep liquidity, a wide range of supported assets, and extensive documentation to help new traders get started.

Pros

  • Available to retail traders with just a Binance account
  • Lots of supported assets
  • No fees since trading fees are included in the OTC price

Cons

  • More hands-off, DIY service compared to other exchanges
  • OTC help desk support is not available 24/7
  • Despite its availability to retail investors, the minimum OTC trade size is $200,000

OTC Trading Crypto on Binance

The Binance OTC desk shines in its support for everyday retail traders. This is a feature that’s very rare in the world of OTC platforms, as most require an extensive verification process with strict portfolio value minimums.

Binance’s OTC offering gives normal traders the opportunity to fine-tune their trades and get individualized trading quotes that are not available on traditional exchanges.

Binance spot block trading

Features

  • Over 300 supported assets available for trading
  • Real-time quotes for OTC trades
  • Quote execution via verified communication channels available for trades over $200,000
  • Robust credit line services for margin trading
  • API support for programmatic trading

5. Crypto.com

Crypto.com OTC desk
Minimum Trade SizeAvailable in the USStandout Feature
Crypto.com$50,000YesComprehensive ecosystem beyond just OTC

The Crypto.com juggernaut rounds out its lineup of an exchange, a wallet, an NFT marketplace, and a platform token with its OTC offering for large traders. The platform’s OTC desk is only available to select institutional and VIP clients.

Pros

  • Full suite of products, including a token, NFT marketplace, and credit card
  • Relatively low minimum trade size
  • Trades executed in seconds, unlike other OTC desks, which can take much longer

Cons

  • Maximum order amount is only $5,000,000
  • Only offer a trading product with no support for lending, borrowing, or custody
  • Service is not as 1 on 1 as other OTC desks

OTC Trading Crypto on Crypto.com

Crypto.com uses a request-for-quote (RFQ) system to match buyers and sellers automatically. This allows the platform to process transactions instantly, as opposed to the manual liquidity matching that happens with many other OTC desks.

Crypto.com OTC desk

Features

  • Trade BTC/USDT, ETH/USDT, ADA/USDC, SOL/USDC, and XRP/USDC pairs, among others
  • Instant trade execution, even on large orders
  • Only pay trading fees on transactions
  • Robust quote history and trade history features

Genesis Global Trading

Genesis Global Trading
Minimum Trade SizeAvailable in the USStandout Feature
Genesis Global Trading$250,000YesThe original crypto OTC exchange, stellar reputation

Genesis was the first OTC crypto trading platform, launching in 2013. Since its inception, it has been the premier destination for institutions and high-net-worth individuals looking to make large crypto trades.

According to the exchange, they handled over $110 billion dollars in trading volume, $130 billion in loans, and $53 billion in derivatives trades in 2021 across 100+ different digital currencies.

Pros

  • Stellar reputation and world-class security
  • Deep liquidity across all markets
  • Features lending, borrowing, and custody options in addition to exchange trading

Cons

  • Requires accredited investor status
  • High threshold for minimum trade
  • Available features are not clear until you sign up

OTC Trading Crypto on Genesis Global Trading

Genesis provides white-glove service to its clients, with the exchange touting deep liquidity, quick execution of orders, and custom advanced trading options. The platform has a stellar reputation in the crypto community and is widely considered the go-to for OTC trading.

In addition to spot trading, the exchange handles two-sided borrowing and lending, as well as derivatives trading.

Features

  • White-glove service with support for most major coins and trading instruments.
  • Loan options ranging from 1 to 12 months.
  • Cold storage of private keys in bunkers with 24/7 security.
  • Trading API for automatically executing trades.

What is an OTC Crypto Desk?

OTC or over-the-counter trading is a method of trading crypto typically reserved for institutions and high-volume traders. In traditional investing, OTC desks are used to execute large trades for big buyers who need significant liquidity.

In crypto, OTC platforms work similarly and usually include a white-glove service for high-net-worth clients and institutions such as banks, hedge funds, and family offices. OTC platforms usually fetch liquidity for large trades that complete based on agreed-upon terms and prices, and they also act as an escrow service for large trades between parties.

OTC exchange trading actually accounts for just as much trading volume as traditional crypto exchanges, but because these desks do a great job of protecting client confidentiality, exact volume figures are unknown.

How Does OTC Trading Crypto Work?

Most OTC desks require approval to trade and enforce trade minimums that start in the 5 or 6- figure range. These platforms also have individual account representatives assigned to clients. For most platforms, clients get to choose between buying, selling, lending, borrowing, and custody services.

Often, OTC desks connect buyers and sellers for trades on a case-by-case basis. Many larger platforms, however, especially ones that also maintain a traditional exchange (such as Coinbase and Kraken), will also have a ready pool of liquidity that can be used to execute instant trades, similar to a regular crypto exchange.

OTC desks traditionally make their money charging a “spread” or commission on trades. These spreads vary anywhere between 0.25% to about 1% of the transaction size.

OTC Trading vs. Crypto Exchange Trading

The primary mode of trading for everyday retail investors is through a crypto exchange. OTC trading is a modified version of exchange trading that has a much more high-touch service, deep liquidity, and usually provides 1 on 1 support.

FeesServiceBest Suited ForPlatformsSupported Features
OTC TradingGenerally lower, included in the quoted transaction price.White-glove, 1 on 1 VIP service.Institutions or high-net-worth individuals.Usually specialize in OTC trading or more exotic crypto trades.Normally limited in scope; focused on trading, lending, borrowing, and custody.
Exchange TradingGenerally higher, may have several different types of fees that are almost always separate from the actual transaction price.General service through automated systems with limited support from real people.Everyday crypto investors.Normally provide a wide range of crypto services beyond just trading.Most exchanges have lots of features ,including staking, rewards programs, platform native tokens and more.

Who Might Want to Trade OTC?

OTC trading is generally reserved for businesses and individuals making large trades. In fact, most OTC platforms enforce trading minimums and require potential clients to go through a screening process in order to be onboarded to the platform.

For qualified traders, OTC provides a number of benefits, including confidentiality, best prices, and dedicated 1 on 1 service. Individuals and businesses most likely to benefit from OTC trading include:

  • High-net-worth individuals (whales) making large trades who want to avoid price slippage and want trades to remain confidential.
  • Institutions such as hedge funds looking to diversify their holdings by investing in crypto.
  • Whales looking to discreetly swap crypto into fiat.
  • Businesses who want to purchase crypto for business-related transactions.

Benefits of Trading OTC

OTC desks provide a number of benefits for individuals and businesses who fit their trader profiles:

  • Confidentiality: While traditional exchanges use public order books to connect buyers and sellers, OTC exchanges do not publicly post their trades, thus, traders can execute on large transactions confidentially.
  • No slippage: On normal exchanges, prices are determined by the supply of tradable assets and the demand for these assets. Whenever a large trade happens that takes a lot of market liquidity away, it may cause the price of the traded asset to drop significantly, resulting in a bad deal for the party initiating the trade. This is referred to as “slippage” and is avoided in OTC desks since they provide ample liquidity for trades planned ahead of time.
  • Negotiate price: Large trades that move markets can be executed at flexible prices. Like any bulk discounts, crypto can also be negotiated for trades that are big enough. This is a standard service that most OTC desks provide to clients.
  • Dedicated service: Most OTC desks assign account representatives to each account to ensure a smooth trading process. These luxuries are not afforded by traditional exchanges and can prove very useful for the busy trader or institution.

Risks of OTC Trading

While using regulated, established platforms minimizes the risks of OTC trading, as with anything else in crypto, there are still some dangers to keep in mind:

  • Counterparty Risk: In any financial transaction, the person or entity you are purchasing from or selling to is known as the “counterparty.” Counterparty risk, then, is any risk related to the entity on the other side of your trade. This may include them violating the terms of contractual agreements, not executing trades due to insufficient funds, or any other default on the decided terms.
  • Regulatory Risk: Traditional Bitcoin trading has increasingly been eyed with suspicion from bodies like the SEC, and given OTC trading’s opaque nature, it may be particularly susceptible to regulation over the coming years.
  • Scams: While respected OTC desks lower this possibility to nearly zero, there are always security gaps that may expose you to fraudulent activity. Remember to always check the URLs and credentials of websites you are visiting to protect against phishing attacks, never give out your wallet seed phrases, and double-check directly with your broker when in doubt about suspicious messages or transactions.
  • Platform Risk: Most OTC firms use the highest industry-grade cold storage standards to secure custodied assets, however, despite the best efforts of experts, major hacks happen in crypto almost daily. Remember that any time you are giving your assets to a custodian, there is a risk that you could lose it in a hack. Additionally, the volatile nature of crypto means that many firms may be exposed to significant price volatility, and some may even be in danger of bankruptcy during particularly rocky markets.

How to Know an OTC Desk is Secure

Most OTC desks go to great lengths to ensure the security of the client assets they have in custody. As with anything digital, however, security can always be compromised. Here is a list of security features to look out for when choosing an OTC Desk:

  • Cold storage: Any worthwhile exchange will store assets in cold storage wallets. These are crypto wallets that are not connected to the internet and are only accessed through secure means when making deposits or retrieving funds.
  • Insurance fund: Most reputable crypto exchanges maintain an insurance policy that can cover lost funds in the event of a hack. Choosing an OTC desk with an insurance policy is not a guarantee that your funds are 100% safe all of the time, but it’s an important indicator of responsibility on the side of the platform.
  • Reputation: In the nascent world of crypto, sometimes the most reliable indicator of a platform’s integrity is its reputation. While many exchanges experience hacks from time to time, the way they respond and recover from these builds their reputation in the community.

Types of Crypto OTC Desks

As with traditional exchanges, OTC desks support a variety of crypto trades depending on client needs. Most OTC platforms support the following types of trades:

  • Buying: OTC desks line up liquidity for large purchase orders.
  • Selling: OTC desks help find buyers for large sell orders.
  • Lending: For clients who have large balances they are looking to earn interest on, OTC desks help find borrowers whom they can loan their funds out to.
  • Borrowing: Individuals and institutions can use OTC desks to borrow money for large trades.

Example of OTC Trading Crypto

Let’s look at a hypothetical example to illustrate the process of completing an OTC trade.

Let’s say you are looking to make a $1 million dollar trade in which you purchase Bitcoin in exchange for USD. A trade this large is best executed on an OTC desk so that you can get the best price and ensure your order goes through without any issues.

You decide to use Kraken’s OTC desk to make this trade because of their 1 on 1 service and their support for direct fiat trades from USD. You contact your account representative and inform them that you are looking to complete a purchase of Bitcoin for $1 million USD as soon as possible. Depending on the market, your trade may be ready to execute immediately, or you may have to wait a few days for your representative to find you the necessary liquidity at the best price.

Once you find the necessary liquidity, your trade completes with no hassle and no extra fees. On Kraken, fees are calculated into the spot price quoted, so the quote your account representative gives you is the full price, with no hidden fees.

To Sum It Up

OTC desks are used for large trades normally done by financial institutions or high-net-worth individuals. OTC trades enable anonymity and provide the best prices for different trades. These platforms also normally provide white-glove service to clients who meet their strict trading requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does Crypto Have OTC?

  • What is The Best Crypto OTC Desk?

  • Does Coinbase Offer OTC?

  • What is Crypto OTC Arbitrage?

  • How Do OTC Desks Make Money?

  • How do Taxes Work With OTC Trading Crypto?


Contributors

  • Avatar of George Hristov

    George is a tech writer interested in web3 startups and communities. In the dynamic world of crypto, he stays plugged in to the day-to-day headlines, deep dives, and industry commentary.

  • Avatar of Shannon Ullman

    Shannon Ullman is a senior editor for DeFiRate.com. Shannon specializes in cryptocurrency and personal finance. Her work has appeared in publications like The Motley Fool and Insider.