A leading online brokerage firm is diving head-first into the world of cryptocurrencies and the rapidly expanding business of crypto trading, FOX Business has learned.
Firstrade Securities, a New York based commission-free trading firm, has become the first major institutional brokerage to add crypto trading to its platform, offering 37 tokens in total, including industry giants like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cardano to smaller, up-and-coming players like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.
The move comes at a time when institutional firms are starting to transition away from traditional securities on behalf of investors looking to diversify their portfolios, taking a chance on the future of crypto and adding some of the hottest names in the industry to their balance sheets.
"What is clear to us is that there has been a seismic shift in not only the sizes of enterprises entering the crypto space, but also the amount being spent on media and lobbying," Liam Quinlan-Stamp, Firstrade's chief crypto adviser, told FOX Business.
Firstrade, which operates a balance sheet of more than $6 billion, will be the first of the major institutional online brokerages to offer individual cryptocurrency trading to its customers. TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab do not offer individual trading of cryptocurrencies at this time.
The move is symbolic of the tremendous push into cryptocurrency adoption by major firms and the appetite that investors have for owning a piece of the $2 trillion industry.
"Momentum is gathering in the crypto space as we are seeing more and more companies begin to accept crypto as a payment option," Thomas Hayes, Chairman of Great Hill Capital, told FOX Business. "AT&T, Shopify, Overstock and Expedia are early adopters and accepting Bitcoin from their customers. This trend is expected to accelerate."
As more companies turn to crypto, regulation will become an even bigger part of the conversation. President Biden signed an executive order in March, calling on the government to examine the risks and benefits of cryptocurrencies. Some industry experts worry that over-regulation will lead to a stifling of the industry and traders are hoping that more adoption before that time will encourage a more positive outcome.
"What Firstrade is doing is taking the first step to bring cryptocurrency trading into the mainstream," NYSE trader Tim Anderson told FOX Business. "Expect others to follow."