eTrade, bitcoin
Now that the cat’s out of the bag at Ameritrade, E-Trade is jumping in. | Source: Shutterstock

By CCN: E-Trade is about to offer bitcoin and ether trading, bolstering its securities platform for 5 million customers, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg Friday. The securities brokerage firm appears to be taking the approach that ‘if you build it, they will come.’ That plus their rivals are doing it.

We know this guy’s going to be happy about the news:

Competition Among Crypto Trading Platforms Heats Up

The traditional Wall Street firm enters a crowded field of early movers in the crypto trading space, including leaders such as Coinbase and Square’s Cash App.

Nathaniel Popper, a tech journalist at The New York Times, was also tipped to the development. He points out that the move comes after TD Ameritrade began to quietly offer bitcoin trading for select customers:

E-Trade will also go head-to-head with commission-free stock trading app Robinhood. The finance “outlaw” app is a favorite among millennials for its ease of use and zero brokerage fees.

Robinhood briefly overtook E-Trade based on the number of trading accounts in May 2018. E-Trade apparently hasn’t forgotten.

No doubt the appeal of cryptocurrency to the younger generation was a major draw for Robinhood’s already millennial-friendly platform. Robinhood recently secured the coveted BitLicense to operate in New York, as did Bitstamp.

E-Trade stands to capture a good chunk of the millennial trader market share by adding digital currencies. In fact, 43% of millennials say they trust cryptocurrencies more than the stock market. Meanwhile, 25% of millennials are already using or saving crypto assets.

Unleashing E-Trade’s 5 Million Customers

Reports suggest that E*Trade is “unleashing” crypto onto its customers. Truth is, the company is really unleashing its 5 million trading accounts onto the bitcoin and Ethereum markets.

Like Square’s Cash App or Coinbase, E-Trade customers who purchase cryptocurrency will not be given the private keys to their own coins.

E-Trade is reportedly finalizing talks with a third party for digital asset custodial services of customer accounts. This, no doubt, is not an optimal service for bitcoin “hodlers” or those looking to save large amounts of bitcoin and ether for the future. They will prefer to have the private keys in their own possession.

An entire industry has grown around the need to secure private keys in cold storage hardware wallets. But an onslaught of E-Trade day traders will clearly infuse the market with massive amounts of liquidity and velocity.

Day traders love markets with the precise characteristics of crypto, including volatility.

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