What a day it’s been for the crypto industry. Samsung, one of the world’s largest tech companies, was revealed to have plans to launch its own digital asset on an Ethereum-based ledger; Binance has launched both its Singapore fiat onramp and decentralized exchange, and China doubled down on blockchain.
But all this was one-uped by an exclusive report from The Block, which revealed that one of America’s largest names in asset trading has not only launched a dedicated crypto division but will soon be introducing an in-house Bitcoin exchange too.
Bitcoin May Soon Trade Directly On TD Ameritrade
On Tuesday, Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, revealed that he spotted Bitcoin and Litecoin trading pairs appear on his TD Ameritrade Think or Swim portal. While some cast this news aside as a joke or glitch, other users confirmed that they too saw “BTC/USD” appear on their accounts on TD Ameritrade, who has over $37 billion in assets under its possession.
Just saw that TD Ameritrade is testing both BTC and LTC trading on its brokerage platform. ???? ???? pic.twitter.com/TVo39oECeH
— Charlie Lee Ⓜ️????️ (@SatoshiLite) April 23, 2019
Another American crypto enthusiast, quantitative analyst Cryptopolis, explained that after he saw the cryptocurrency pair, he discussed the matter with a support staffer at TD Ameritrade. After that discussion, Cryptopolis came to the conclusion that the institution was likely testing BTC and LTC trading on the paper side, potentially in preparation of launching an actual spot exchange. Funnily enough, this may be the case.
Per The Block, who cited sources familiar with the matter, ErisX, an up-and-coming, Chicago-based cryptocurrency initiative that has recently embarked on a hiring spree, will soon launch its own exchange platform. This is notable, as TD Ameritrade is one of the platform’s strategic partners and investors and is expected to be a bridge between retail investors and ErisX. ErisX’s representatives were unable to confirm this information, but a spokesperson did explain:
“[We have been in a] production environment with a limited number of participants to optimize the process in advance of our public launch.”
And an executive from TD Ameritrade itself has been amicable towards cryptocurrencies. In a CNBC “Fast Money” interview late last year, Steven Quirk, executive vice president of TD Ameritrade’s Trader Group, explained that his firm’s 11+ million retail clients do want to expose themselves to digital assets. And with ErisX’s product expected to be fully regulated, an integration with TD Ameritrade might be a perfect way for millions of Americans to buy themselves their first Bitcoin.
TD Ameritrade Finds Inspiration In Fidelity, Launches Crypto-Centric Branch
The news regarding ErisX’s potential integration into TD Ameritrade’s roster of products is monumental in and of itself, but The Block’s report had one more juicy tidbit. It was explained that according to an internal note from President Peter deSilva, executive Sunayna Tuteja will be taking up the mantle as the Head of Digital Assets, implying that there is a cryptocurrency division in the works/already established.
deSilva claims Tuteja will be responsible for “building a scalable blockchain and crypto practice” through partnerships, investments, and products to “harness the growing power of blockchain.”
Not many more details are known about the institution’s new branch, but this is a positive sign for sure. TD Ameritrade’s move follows in the footsteps of Fidelity Investments, a financial services provider with trillions under management that has had its own cryptocurrency interests for years now.
The fact that both TD Ameritrade and Fidelity (and likely many others) signals that while Bitcoin may have seen an 80% drop over 2018, household names in mainstream finance are keeping an eye on cryptocurrencies due to their long-term potential to revolutionize trade, politics, and more.