New crypto exchange LVL takes on Coinbase and Gemini


December 1, 2020
By Sam Grant

Upstart crypto exchange LVL (pronounced  ‘level’) will be looking to compete with the already established Coinbase and Gemini in the US

The exchange announced it would not charge any trading fees as it attempts to draw users away from giants Coinbase and Gemini. Previously the exchange had an allowance where subscription users were not charged any trading fees. LVL is backed by several influential figures in the finance space, notably Morgan Creek Digital founder Anthony Pompliano and Bitcoin advocate Jimmy Song.

The exchange also has the support of financial institutions. It recently collaborated with MasterCard to launch two debit cards that will enter the market early next year.

“We’ve always been behind a subscription paywall, but now we’re just making our entire service free to use. You can buy and sell bitcoin, you can use the plastic debit card. So now in North America, there’s a regulated exchange that’s 100% free to use,” the company’s chief executive Chris Slaughter revealed.

LVL will be looking to capitalise on the lack of competition in the US, where exchanges use similar pricing schemes. Slaughter asserted that the exchange was willing to go above and beyond to fight the monopoly, even if it is just an upstart.

“We are a super scrappy business contender by nature,” he said. “Like, we only have seven people, but we have the first Mastercard approval in North America. We’re registered with FinCEN. And not only do we have bank accounts, they are full checking accounts.”

LVL will be counting on its distinct revenue model to disrupt the monopoly.  The exchange earns revenue by charging a $3 withdrawal fee that covers the network fees as well. A $5 fee applies for wire and same-day bank transfers. This fee finances LVL’s risk provisioning credit to users while also generating revenue for the exchange.

The premium package, which comes with a live-chat option with a banker, costs $9 per month. This fee helps LVL Autopilot bring liquidity to the platform.

“Based on our current number of pro users, and the way we expect liquidity to grow following this announcement, we expect to pass Coinbase’s liquidity within the 2% band in January,” Slaughter explained.

LVL’s services are available in 28 states and territories in this account. According to Slaughter, these states collectively account for 60% of the US population. The CEO further said the exchange has a goal of servicing 94% of Americans by the end of next year.

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