After announcing the launch of crypto trading back in June, Interactive Brokers’ clients will now be able to trade four different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. The service is only available to U.S. residents.
Interactive Brokers is an online brokerage platform that lets users trade stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), cryptocurrencies, and more.
As of September 1, 2021, the platform hosted 1.49 million client accounts and over $360 billion in assets under custody. Robinhood, by comparison, has 18 million clients and $80 billion in assets under custody, according to CNBC.
Paxos Crypto Brokerage is the primary custodian of cryptocurrencies on Interactive Brokers and is responsible for managing liquidity and licensing on the platform. Paxos performs a similar role for PayPal’s newly-launched crypto service too.
Interface on Interactive Brokers when buying Bitcoin. Source: Interactive Brokers
The total fee for trading cryptocurrencies on Interactive Brokers is also much lower than its competitors. The cost to trade $1,000 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, or Litecoin is $1.80. On Coinbase, for example, the same trade would cost $20.
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In 2017, the chairman of Interactive Brokers Thomas Peterffy criticized Bitcoin for its volatility, adding that if Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) were not traded in isolation, they could “destabilize the real economy.”
Now that Interactive Brokers has added real cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin futures, he joins a growing list of financial heavyweights who have changed their position on the asset class.
The most notable member of that list has been Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan.
Dimon infamously called Bitcoin a “fraud” in 2017; this year, JP Morgan began offering funds with exposure to the cryptocurrency to its clients.
News of Peterffy’s brokerage adding cryptocurrencies doesn’t seem to have moved the needle on crypto prices significantly. Bitcoin and Ethereum are both up around 3% over the past 24 hours, according to Nomics.