Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is making the leap into U.S. equity trading.
What Happened: FTX US on Thursday announced the launch of an equities trading platform called "FTX Stocks." A select group of U.S. customers will be able to access a private beta phase of the launch in the FTX US trading application beginning today.
FTX Stocks offers trading and investing in hundreds of U.S. exchange-listed securities in a seamless experience within its FTX US crypto trading app. FTX said it will initially route the orders through the Nasdaq and will exclude itself from payments for order flow in an effort to provide transparent trade execution and fair pricing for its users.
"Our goal is to offer a holistic investing service for our customers across all asset classes. With the launch of FTX Stocks, we have created a single integrated platform for retail investors to easily trade crypto, NFTs, and traditional stock offerings through a transparent and intuitive user interface," said Brett Harrison, president of FTX US.
FTX Stocks will offer its customers brokerage accounts without fees and will refrain from charging commissions for trading. The platform will also allow trading in ETFs and offer fractional shares for select securities. The company even chose to eliminate required customer balances and tiered account systems.
Why It Matters: FTX US is exploring new territory as the first crypto exchange to jump into regulated U.S. equities trading. Securities trading is being offered through FTX Capital Markets, a FINRA member broker-dealer. FTX Stocks is also set to become the first platform to allow retail brokerage accounts to be funded with stablecoins.
Although crypto exchange Kraken has expressed interest, most other competitors have steered clear of U.S equities trading. Coinbase Global Inc COIN has shown an unwillingness to enter the space and Binance halted its "stock tokens" program last year, which featured crypto assets tied to the value of specific company shares.
"There is clear market demand for a new retail investment experience that offers full order routing transparency to customers and does not rely on payment for order flow. As we grow the product offering and capabilities, we are excited to give our customers even greater choice for order execution, as well as the tools they need to make informed routing decisions," Harrison said.
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