Market-makers Citadel Securities and Virtu Financial are in the process of building a cryptocurrency trading platform along with multinational financial services company Schwab that could roll out later this year or in early 2023. Venture capital giants Sequoia Capital and Paradigm, as well as a few retail brokerages, are also included in this project. Although details about the venture are sparse, the project will be Citadel and Virtu’s first venture into the crypto world, which traditionally offers trading in equities and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Speaking to Bloomberg, Mayura Hooper, a spokeswoman for Schwab said the company will look to invest in firms and technologies in the cryptocurrency space with a strong regulatory focus and in a secure environment. While they don’t have plans to offer direct crypto trading at this point, Hooper mentioned they will consider introducing direct access to cryptocurrencies when there is further regulatory clarity.
Ken Griffin, the founder of Citadel Securities, said the company plans to make markets in crypto, however, he didn’t mention a specific timeline.
Though few details about the venture are available, it could mark a significant step toward mainstreaming crypto trading for retail investors. At present, investors typically buy cryptocurrencies either from dedicated exchanges or through upstart brokerage apps.
Schwab offers investors access to crypto via Bitcoin futures and several crypto-oriented trusts that trade over the counter but does not permit direct trading in cryptocurrencies on its platform.
On the other hand, Fidelity has already made waves in the crypto space with the announcement of a plan to offer access to Bitcoin in its 401(k) plans, a move that has drawn scrutiny from regulators wary of the volatility of the asset class.
Fidelity offers retail clients exposure to crypto through thematic exchange-traded funds but, like Schwab, does not offer direct trading of currencies on its platform.