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Blockchain.info, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency wallet services, has introduced Bitcoin buy and sell functions for its US clients, CNBC reports, citing CEO Peter Smith. The company starts with the Bitcoin sell feature and will proceed to add the buy function, as well as expand the features to other cryptocoins, he said. 

So far, Bitcoin buy and sell functions have been available to Blockchain.info customers in the UK, where the business is based. With the US launch, the company aims to rival Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the US at present. 

As of Thursday, US customers from 22 states can sell their Bitcoin, while the buying function will become available within weeks. Given the huge crypto market correction this week, it would be better to begin with providing the sell service, according to Smith. This gradual introduction will help the company control the launch of the features.

“If we are prioritizing short-term gains, we would prioritize buy — that is what most people have done. But it's really time to make sure we nail that experience,” he told CNBC before the official launch announcement.

Blockchain.info says its user base numbers about 22 million, with Smith estimating that 30% to 40% are people based in the US. This suggests that the platform has some seven to eight million customers in the US alone, more than what Coinbase might have. The latter has over 10 million users worldwide.

A lot of crypto traders in the US have complained about some local crypto exchanges, Coinbase included. Some complaints relate to withdrawal and liquidity issues. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau registered 288 complaints from January to August 2017 against Coinbase specifically as opposed to only six in 2016. In light of this, Blockchain.info’s move might pose a challenge to Coinbase and other crypto exchanges operating in the US. 

In the coming weeks, Blockchain.info will add buy and sell functions with Ether and Bitcoin Cash, the official announcement said. 

Speaking about Bitcoin’s prospects in 2018, Smith opined that its dominance would continue to decline:

“What could happen this year is that I think we will see the dominance of bitcoin as a percentage of the market capitalization go down. That could be because other digital coins get strong, or that there are a lot more that are interesting,” he stated. 

Smith previously said that central banks around the globe might start holding cryptocurrencies in their reserves as early as this year.