Let’s forget the controversy surrounding Bitfinex and look on the bright side. A Bitcoin sidechain, Liquid, developed by Blockstream has launched its coin on Bitfinex.
Dubbed Liquid Bitcoin (LBTC), the coin can now be deposited or withdrawn on Bitfinex. The coin has a ratio of 1:1 with Bitcoin. The Liquid network is controlled by institutions which include cryptocurrency exchanges. The current members of the network include Tilde, Huobi, BTCTrader, DMM Bitcoin, among others.
According to Paolo Ardoino, CTO, Bitfinex:
“Issuing Bitcoin, stablecoins, and various other digital assets under one blockchain platform makes a lot of sense. It reduces the integration burden for an exchange like ourselves, and traders can manage all their assets from a single wallet application.”
LBTC is Bitcoin on the Liquid network. As stated by Blockstream, Liquid is an inter-exchange settlement platform that connects virtual currency exchanges and other institutions across the globe. This, in turn, facilitates faster BTC transactions plus the issuance of digital assets. The speed of Liquid proves beneficial for traders engaged in arbitrage.
Although the chain was initially closed to a select few, it is slowly letting the general public to have a feel of the network using the Liquid client.
As noted by Blockstream’s Mario Gibney, apart from allowing Liquid users to send funds to other users without an intermediary, Blockstream is considering supporting “an easy-to-use-mobile wallet.”
“And as more exchanges integrate (as Bitfinex and the Rock Trading already have), then users will be able to deposit and withdraw from those exchanges within 2 minutes.”
The Liquid network is a permissioned platform with 15 entities selected to validate and commit transactions. While this may not be the best approach, once those using the platform build trust with the validators, it “would make transfers pretty much instant, and thus would make arbitrage a lot faster.”