Crypto Exchange FTX Expands Into Stock Trading

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The new stock-trading service will be available to a limited number of US users at first

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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.

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FTX plans to offer commission-free stock trading, like most major US 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.

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That means FTX will lose money on stock trades, relying on profits from crypto to subsidize the new service.
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“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 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 [email protected]


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