FTX US Debuts Stock Trading in Push for Bigger Slice of US Retail Pie

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First came the meme coins. Then, the jpegs. Now FTX US is going for the original retail investment play: stocks.

The Chicago outpost of Sam Bankman-Fried’s trading empire said it will begin testing stock trading functionality for a handful of U.S. users on Thursday.

“Our goal is to offer a holistic investing service for our customers across all asset classes,” President Brett Harrison said in a statement. The company did not provide a timeline for wider rollout.

The launch comes as FTX makes an aggressive push into the traditional financial ecosystem. Its explosion across the U.S. has emboldened the trading firm with roots as an offshore crypto derivatives exchange to challenge the closely-guarded rules governing commodities markets.

That effort, which is currently being examined by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has long-term potential. But the stock trading is one more sign that FTX US is growing more interested in the general investor crowd than exclusively crypto gamblers.

FTX US will not charge commissions or trading fees in keeping with the low-cost brokerage model that Robinhood (HOOD) rode to fame. it will not monetize traders’ orders by selling the flow to high-frequency traders, a controversial practice called payment for order flow for which Robinhood has been criticized.

(FTX CEO Bankman-Fried recently disclosed he purchased 7% of Robinhood in a stock buy.)

The exchange also plans to let its customers fund their accounts in the stablecoin USDC. This effectively means that the same go-between asset for crypto traders can enter the stock market, too.