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Interactive Brokers to Offer Crypto Trading

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Popular trading platform Interactive Brokers will start offering direct cryptocurrency trading by the end of the summer. CEO of the platform Thomas Peterffy made the announcement speaking at the Piper Sandler Global Exchange & Fintech Conference.

“Customers certainly are asking for and we expect to be ready to offer it to them by the end of the summer,” he said.

Cryptocurrency-Related Offerings

Interactive Brokers currently offers many different cryptocurrency-related investments, including Ethereum Trust, Litecoin Trust, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, Bitcoin Cash Trust, etc. For their futures customers, the brokerage offers the CME Bitcoin Reference Rate Futures, Gemini Bitcoin Trace Price Futures, etc.

Crypto trading isn’t a service offered by all top platforms. For instance, Robinhood already offers it, while Fidelity doesn’t. However, many of the top platforms have other crypto-related offerings: Morgan Stanley has a standalone Bitcoin fund, and Fidelity recently raised over $102 million for its first Bitcoin fund. Fidelity also launched this year a crypto data market analyzer, called “Sherlock,” for institutional clients, giving them volumes and prices of 80 cryptos.

Interactive Brokers has seen a large influx of new investors: As of May 2021, the platform has 1.39 million client accounts, 65% higher than 2020, and $348.3 billion client equity, 83% higher than 2020. It added an average of 31,940 new client accounts per month last year, over 116,000 in Jan 2021.

The top cryptocurrency spot exchanges are Binance, Huobi Global, Coinbase Exchange, Kraken, and KuCoin, according to Coinmarketcap. Binance has a trading volume of over $23 billion.

Security Concerns

Peterffy was also mindful of the challenges that come with offering decentralized digital currencies. According to him, customer safety is the greatest hurdle best cryptocurrency trading: “ How do you make it 100% sure that no one will steal their coins in spite of the fact that they are untraceable.” He expects to know more about it when they open for business.

Bitcoin fell below the $32,000 mark Tuesday, a day after U.S. officials seized $2.3 million in bitcoin paid to hacker group DarkSide. DarkSide, ran a ransomware business, selling the tools they developed to affiliates who carry out attacks. Bitcoin is often the top choice for hackers demanding ransom payments.

Experts also expect quantum computers to soon be able to hack into cell phones, bank accounts, and crypto wallets. According to quantum computing expert Thorsten Groetker, “If I was dealing in fear-mongering … I’d tell you that among the first types of digital signatures that will be broken by quantum computers are elliptic curves, as we use them today, for bitcoin wallets,” reported CNBC.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom from security experts. The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) is working on a new encryption standard that’s quantum proof, according to Fred Thiel, CEO of cryptocurrency miner Marathon Digital Holdings, adds the report.

About Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, and has offices in multiple countries. The brokerage firm claims to have over $9 billion in equity capital.

Salman Hassen is an environmental engineer and an avid follower of emerging tech in the energy and IT industries. He writes about blockchain tech, sustainable development, and several other personal interests.

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