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Crypto Exchange FTX Expands Into Stock Trading

Crypto exchange FTX will let customers trade stocks and exchange-traded funds on its popular trading app alongside bitcoin and dogecoin.

FTX said Thursday that it opened access to its new stock-trading service for a limited number of U.S. users, It plans to expand the functionality to all American customers in the next few months, the head of the crypto exchange’s U.S. arm said in an interview.

The app could ultimately offer trading in other asset classes, such as futures, all within the same interface, said FTX.US President

Brett Harrison.

“What we eventually want to offer is an everything app for financial services,” he said.

FTX plans to offer commission-free stock trading, like most major U.S. online brokerage firms. But it won’t route customer orders to high-speed traders in exchange for cash, a controversial practice known as payment for order flow, Mr. Harrison said. Payment for order flow has come under increased scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators since last year’s frenzied trading in

GameStop Corp.

and other meme stocks.

That means FTX will lose money on stock trades, relying on profits from crypto to subsidize the new service. “We don’t necessarily have to see a profit on day one,” Mr. Harrison said.

Mr. Harrison first said the crypto exchange was working on adding stock trading in January, and FTX opened a wait list for the new service the following month.

Other apps have already combined stock and crypto trading, such as

Robinhood,

Block Inc.’s

Cash App and Public.com. But FTX’s move is less common in that it represents a crypto-native firm moving into traditional markets, rather than a conventional financial player expanding into digital currencies.

Based in the Bahamas, FTX runs one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges. In recent months it has made a series of moves into traditional asset classes. These ambitions have continued even as a huge selloff wiped out more than $1.5 trillion of value in cryptocurrency markets and sent bitcoin down more than 50% from its record high in November.

In April, FTX acquired a stake in the parent company of the IEX stock exchange, made famous by Michael Lewis’s 2014 book “Flash Boys.” Last week, FTX billionaire co-founder and Chief Executive

Sam Bankman-Fried

disclosed he had bought a 7.6% stake in trading-app maker

Robinhood Markets Inc.

Mr. Bankman-Fried has said he is treating the stake as an investment and doesn’t have plans to influence

Robinhood’s

management or strategy.

Write to Alexander Osipovich at alexander.osipovich@dowjones.com

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