Bittrex is dropping both its Litecoin and Blackcoin pairs and will be moving forward with Bitcoin pairs exclusively for the immediate future.
The announcement that Bittrex would be removing the Blackcoin pairs came a few hours ago via Twitter. When we confirmed with Bittrex co-founder Kawach Rami (known simply as Rami), he told us that the exchange would also be dropping Litecoin pairs.
When Blackcoin originally became a base trading pair on Bittrex, the idea reportedly was to move from Litecoin to Blackcoin as the only alternative pair. However, a lack of liquidity in the Blackcoin market was cited as the major reason for the coin to lose its base pair and it turns out that Bittrex has decided to stop using alternative base pairs all together.
Rami explained that the problem isn't only liquidity, but that all alternative pairs seem to be unable to overcome the hurdle of getting people to think in that currency's value.
“The feedback we received was, 'I always have to mentally convert this back to a BTC price to figure out what to ASK/BID' [. . .] As soon as you are forced to do the conversion back to BTC, you've essentially failed as a secondary base pair. When I first learned English, I had to mentally translate everything. It didn't really click until I started thinking in English.”
Rami notes that other exchanges could be having more success with secondary pairs than they have been, but for Bittrex, he does not think it is the right fit. He does not rule out the possibility of a new base currency arising in the future, but it would have to be a good fit and “it's not in the cards right now.” Bittrex will be limited to BTC only pairings for the near future, he said.
We asked Blackcoin's Steven McKie about the news and he gave us this quote:
“The market just wasn't ready [for] cheap and fast arbitrage opportunities. The need for addition[al] main market pairings is obvious; but forcing [. . .] new market pairing on [exchanges] won't work. There should have been more promotion in regards to the pairing and its possibilities -- and overall what the BlackCoin ecosystem has to offer. That was not the case, however. The removal of the BlackCoin markets isn't a big deal. It was just an experiment. What isn't is an experiment is Excoin (BlackCoin Centric Exchange) launching in Alpha soon. As well as Night Trader (decentralized exchange for BlackHalo/BlackCoin) and another unannounced VC backed exchange dealing specifically with BC[,] will all help to pick up where Bittrex left off.”
McKie is correct that it was only an experiment and doesn't spell doom for Blackcoin, but this certainly has to be a disappointment for the community that was that being a base pair on a major exchange would propel the coin near the top of the list of altcoins and even possibly challenge Litecoin at some point. Those hopes never materialized and becoming a base pair never increased demand for the coin as expected. Counter-intuitively, the price did rise immediately after the news broke. Perhaps as investors buy Blackcoins using coins they originally purchased with BC.
For Litecoin, this news isn't as a big of a deal. While base pairs at Bittrex is nice for Litecoin users, it is still the de-facto standard alternative currency pairing. That advantage means losing Bittrex pairing is not nearly as a big of a deal for them.
No word yet on when exactly the pairings will be removed. Bittrex generally gives markets a week after coins are announced for removal, and then users are given additional time to remove their coins. However, it is unknown at this point if base markets will follow the same procedure.