Nearly six months after FTX acquired the crypto price tracking app Blockfolio in a $150 million deal, the platform is now ready to roll-out a crypto trading functionality.
Blockfolio got its start in the crypto market as a place where users could track the price of various cryptos and the performance of their holdings. The new functionality — which will be powered by FTX’s trading systems — will put the firm up against a long list of players that offer crypto trading, such as Coinbase and Robinhood.
Blockfolio believes its advantage over the competition will rest on its pricing model. The firm will be among the few platforms in crypto that offer zero-fee crypto trading (most charge around 50 basis points to make a trade). Blockfolio also has the benefit of having an established, loyal user base of more than 6 million.
“There is a wave of new users coming into the crypto space who need simple, easy tools to help them navigate what can be a daunting industry,” Jonathan Chu, head of product at Blockfolio, told The Block. “Since we’ve always tried to be the most user-friendly companion app for the crypto industry, bringing dead-simple, zero-fee trading into the app was a natural next step for Blockfolio.”
As for how the new feature will be monetized, the firm said it would offer superior prices to its competitors and capture a percentage of that price improvement.
The roll-out comes at a time when the market has been more focused on institutional activity in bitcoin. Since FTX’s acquisition of Blockfolio, headlines about large asset managers and hedge funders have dominated crypto-related headlines.
Still, Blockfolio sees retail activity on the rise. The firm points to bitcoin addresses hitting an all-time high earlier this month, and The Block’s own data shows Google searches for Ethereum hit an all-time high this month.
In some instances, the increase in retail activity has caused some platforms to buckle under the pressure. On Wednesday, Robinhood’s crypto platform reported issues, as previously reported by The Block. Earlier this month, Coinbase said it would overhaul its own infrastructure after an outage that affected its retail userbase.
Blockfolio says that offering a “clean user experience” will be a focus of the new function.
“Our plan with this launch is to listen to our users and iterate quickly together to improve the experience based on their feedback,” Chu said. “We’re lucky to have a really passionate user base — I’m pretty confident they’ll be vocal in letting us know what’s working and what isn’t!”
In some respects, the crypto market has been stuck in the shadow in U.S. equities in recent days. Stocks from GameStop to AMC have hit eye-popping values on the back of social media activity, triggering an array of responses from trading platforms, regulators and market observers.
FTX — which will offer some of its products through the Blockfolio app — has been working to capitalize on that fervor through the listings of various tokenized stocks as well as pre-IPO futures contracts in firms like Coinbase and Airbnb. Indeed, the firm said it would offer to its international users trading in three stocks that Robinhood has paused buys on: GameStop, AMC, and Nokia.
In the future, FTX could offer stock trading on both FTX.US and Blockfolio. The firm is in the process of acquiring a broker-dealer that would set the foundation for such an offering. Such an option is now available for international users outside of the U.S.
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