TD Ameritrade sees growing investor interest in crypto

TD Ameritrade sees growing investor interest in crypto

Investors are increasingly interested in Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies, according to Tim Hockey, the outgoing chief executive officer of online brokerage TD Ameritrade.

“Clients are asking for it,” Hockey, who will step down from Ameritrade next February, said in a recent interview with The Street.

The company, which has nearly 11 million clients, has a stake in ErisX, a digital asset trading platform that earlier this month received a licence from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission to become a derivatives clearing organisation (DCO). ErisX already had a Designated Contract Market (DCM) licence.

Ameritrade’s investment in ErisX, which was made last year, may allow the online brokerage to enable direct trading in cryptocurrencies in the future, Hockey told The Street. However, for now, the company is taking a “crawl, walk, run approach”, especially in the wake of Facebook’s Libra announcement, which attracted significant scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators around the world.

Last week, Facebook’s blokchain chief David Marcus, was grilled by US lawmakers at two separate hearings before the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, respectively. At those hearings, lawmakers expressed their concerns about the impact the project could have on a number of areas, including consumer privacy.

“There is a lot of regulatory scrutiny, whether it be for Libra or crypto generally,” Hockey said, as quoted by The Street. “We would like to be able to participate, but we want to be comfortable with the risk to our clients and ourselves in a world where crypto has still got lots of debate about a number of items that we’re all hearing about.”

However, Hockey also noted that “the discussions around Libra and the rebound in bitcoin” have bolstered investors’ interest in crypto.

Even though Bitcoin has struggled this month, the coin has seen significant price growth, year to date. At current price levels of around $10,100, the coin has nearly tripled its value since the start of the year.

Featured image: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

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