TD Ameritrade, the first brokerage firm to launch online trading for traditional assets, today announced its investment in ErisX, a new regulated cryptocurrency exchange for spot and futures trading opened by Eris Exchange, a Chicago-based derivatives market.
ErisX is designed to offer traders access to cryptocurrency spot contracts as well as futures contracts on a single exchange. Spokeswoman Jessica Darmoni says it will allow investors to trade Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin, in addition to futures contracts on cryptocurrencies.
TD Ameritrade says its retail clients “are seeking to access and trade digital currency products in the same way they do with traditional capital markets – through a legitimate, regulated and transparent exchange.”
Among the first financial services firms to offer approved clients access to Bitcoin futures contracts on the CBOE Futures Exchange, TD Ameritrade will be able to expand its cryptocurrency offerings through ErisX.
Reuters reports that ErisX will give TD Ameritrade clients the potential to trade “other cryptocurrency futures, such as Ethereum and Litecoin”, according to J.B. Mackenzie, TD Ameritrade’s managing director of futures and foreign exchange.
Steve Quirk, executive vice president of trading and education at TD Ameritrade, adds, “That’s precisely why we chose to invest in ErisX – to make digital currency products more accessible to retail clients.”
TD Ameritrade joins a growing list of traditional financial services companies that are expanding into the alternative assets market of cryptocurrencies. Despite the Bitcoin bear market, which has toppled the world’s largest cryptocurrency from its December 2017 all-time high of $20,000 to today’s price of $6,486, companies are using the lull to build up critical infrastructure as they prepare for increased mainstream adoption.
In a digital asset landscape that’s attracting more and more competitors, ErisX will face Bakkt, a new cryptocurrency exchange scheduled to launch this fall. Backed by Intercontinental Exchange, Bakkt, like ErisX, will offer physically-delivered futures contracts, giving investors the underlying cryptocurrencies once their contracts expire.
As a tech leader in the financial services space, TD Ameritrade services 11 million client accounts totaling more than $1.2 trillion in assets. The company has a long history of integrating new technologies into legacy platforms and spurring enough interest and adoption among its customer base to make new and novel services go mainstream.
The company writes in its announcement,
“TD Ameritrade has a proud history of innovation dating back to its founding in 1975 that includes being the first to enable stock trading over the touch-tone phone, the first to offer trading over the Internet, the first to offer mobile device trading, and – most recently – the first to leverage artificial intelligence to offer trading via an automated agent.”
DRW Holdings Inc. and Virtu Financial Inc. are also backers of ErisX, along with Valor Equity Partners, NEX Opportunities, Cboe Global Markets Inc., Susquehanna International Group and ED&F Man Capital Markets Inc.
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