Interactive Brokers rolls out crypto trading with Paxos

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Global electronic brokerage firm Interactive Brokers Group is teaming up with Paxos to enable crypto trading. 

Interactive Brokers' clients can now trade and custody Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash through Paxos. The assets will be accessible alongside traditional assets through a single interface.

For now, the services are only available to U.S. residents with individual or joint accounts. In its announcement, Interactive Brokers said there are plans to launch crypto trading to other client bases, including Financial Advisors, and those outside the U.S.

The firm is also touting low commissions, charging 0.12%–0.18% of trade value as commission. 

Paxos nabbed approval for a bank charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency this April, enabling it to expand its custody offerings for firms like Interactive Brokers. Its own brokerage offering, Paxos Crypto Brokerage, is the API enabling the trading, custody and liquidity, while Interactive Brokers maintains the client base. 

Chairman Thomas Peterffy founded Interactive Brokers in 1977 as a market maker before incorporating the firm into a broker-dealer in 1993. It currently has more than $9 billion in equity as one of the largest electronic brokerages in the world. Peterffy has been skeptical of cryptocurrencies in the past, but during an interview with CNBC earlier this year, he admitted to having some money in digital assets because "you have to play the odds." 

At that time, Peterffy teased that several of the firm's clients had expressed interest in crypto trading. Interactive Brokers caters to an institutional client base; in the firm's announcement, CEO Milan Galik referenced the growing investor demand.

“As financial markets evolve, sophisticated individual and institutional investors are increasingly seeking out allocations to digital currencies as a means of achieving their financial objectives,” Galik's said. “In giving our clients access to cryptocurrency trading, we recognize the need to meet the growing investor demand to trade cryptocurrency alongside other asset classes in a convenient and low-cost way.”

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