Major cryptocurrency exchange FTX is moving into equity trading, with its United States-based subsidiary FTX US launching a stock trading platform.
West Realm Shires Services, the owner and operator of FTX US, announced on May 19 the upcoming launch of FTX Stocks, a stock trading service offered directly through the FTX US trading app.
The new stock trading platform will feature trading and investing in hundreds of U.S. exchange-listed shares, including common stocks and exchange-traded funds.
According to the announcement, FTX Stocks will be the first platform to ever allow retail investors to fund their accounts with fiat-backed stablecoins like USD Coin (USDC). The option is enabled via a partnership with the FTX US crypto exchange, providing an alternative option to default deposit methods in the U.S. dollar, including wire transfers, credit card deposits and others.
The FTX Stocks platform will be initially available in a private beta phase for select U.S. customers chosen from a waitlist. The service will also initially route all orders through Nasdaq in order to ensure transparent trade execution and fair pricing, the announcement notes.
“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,” FTX US President Brett Harrison said. He added that there is “clear market demand” for a new retail investment experience supporting “full order routing transparency” while not relying on payment for order flow.
The news comes shortly after FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried criticized the efficiency of Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment network on May 16. He specifically expressed concerns over the Bitcoin network’s mining consensus, arguing that it’s not scalable enough to process millions of transactions.
The CEO has also been actively buying shares of major players in the industry, holding about $650 million in the stock of the crypto-friendly stock trading app Robinhood as of May 2022.