FTX.US is acquiring crypto derivatives firm LedgerX, a move that could pave the way for FTX to offer crypto futures, swaps, puts and calls to U.S. retail traders.
That the U.S. arm of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto trading empire would effectively buy its way into the American derivatives scene is hardly a surprise. FTX has amassed a seemingly bottomless war chest – for ad campaigns, stadium rebrandings and even umpire patches – through its highly lucrative global crypto derivatives business.
“There’s a huge amount of interest both in the institutional and the retail side in trading crypto derivatives, and given FTX international’s success in the crypto derivatives market it’s only natural that we would eventually want to enter that market here in the U.S. as well,” Harrison said.
Entering that market is easier said than done, however. FTX.US sidestepped what would have likely been a years-long regulatory slog by snapping up a company that already made it through.
Buying LedgerX “just makes it that much faster for us to enter the market than if we were to go about this completely alone,” Harrison said.
Harrison declined to say how much FTX.US paid in the deal.
LedgerX license lineup
LedgerX has three key licenses allowing it to offer crypto derivatives products: a designated contract market (DCM) license, a derivatives clearing organization (DCO) license and a swap execution facility (SEF) license. The SEF regulates LedgerX’s exchange platform and the DCO authorizes the company’s clearinghouse.
The DCM, which was granted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in 2019, allows for the company to offer and settle futures.
Still, any FTX.US crypto derivatives offering will pale in comparison to the parent company’s scope because the CFTC only allows bitcoin and ether contracts.
LedgerX’s leadership, staff and board structure will remain the same post-acquisition, but the name will eventually change as the services become intertwined, Harrison said. He compared it to crypto spot market Blockfolio’s rebranding to FTX.
“The goal would be eventually from your FTX app, in addition to being able to buy spot ETH, to be able to offer ETH futures, or ETH call or put options.”
Dexter took over as CEO, returning to the company after a brief stint at Mirror.
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