Online trading firm E*Trade Financial Group is preparing to offer cryptocurrency trading on its platform, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on April 26.
E*Trade will reportedly begin by offering bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) after which it will add other cryptocurrencies.
As one of the largest online trading platforms, E*Trade offering cryptocurrency trading could represent a significant step forward for cryptocurrency adoption. Per the firm’s annual report filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Dec. 31, 2018, E*Trade had 4.9 million brokerage accounts and a total margin receivables balance of $9.6 billion. The firm's total assets are over $65 billion.
Should E*Trade offer cryptocurrency trading, it would join other online securities trading platforms like Robinhood, which have also stepped into the cryptocurrency space. In May 2018, Robinhood briefly overtook E*Trade in the number of trading accounts on the platform. At that time, Robinhood co-founder Baiju Bhatt said:
“Crypto has certainly added to our growth. In the next couple of years, I think you’ll see Robinhood looking like a full-service consumer finance company.”
Some analysts have recently said that cryptocurrency represents a sound long-term investment for institutional investors. Cambridge Associates, which specializes in pension and endowment consultancy, wrote:
“Despite the challenges, we believe that it is worthwhile for investors to begin exploring this area today with an eye toward the long term. Though these investments entail a high degree of risk, some may very well upend the digital world.’’