FTX eyes up brokerage start-ups for move into stock trading

FTX US has said it will offer zero commission stock trading

FTX logo surrounded by bitcoin and ethereum                                 
FTX logo surrounded by bitcoin and ethereum - Photo: Alamy

Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX is looking to buy a brokerage start-up as the company wanrts to expand into stock trading.

The Bahamas-based company has contacted at least three privately held trading start-ups about a possible acquisition. This is what sources familiar with the negotiations told CNBC.

They also added that the discussions are still in early phases.

The three companies are reportedly Chinese-owned stockbroker Webull, digital clearing and custody engine Apex Clearing and investing platform Public.com.

All three firms are registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and are members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

FINRA registered firms are allowed to trade stocks for their clients and to give investment advice, while being a SIPC member means investors are financially protected if the firms fail.  

FTX US to offer stock trading  

FTX US, the US arm of FTX, recently said that it will offer zero commission stock trading.

The company wishes to do this because it believes retail investors want to get involved with both crypto and stocks via the same app.

Brett Harrison, president of FTX US, told CNBC: “If they want to invest in stocks, they’re not going to want to have to split their savings between two different apps or have to move money around between two different accounts.

“They’d like to be able to have one holistic experience where they can invest in multiple asset classes from a single app and experience. That’s what we’re hoping to provide by combining stocks and crypto into the same application for our user.”

FTX CEO owns a stake in Robinhood

According to a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing in May, Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, bought 56 million shares of Robinhood, an American financial services company known for pioneering commission-free trades of stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and cryptocurrencies via a mobile app.

This equated to a 7.6% share on the company.  

Additionally, FTX has bought a stake in IEX Group, a stock exchange operator.

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