/Investment Giant eToro planning cryptocurrency exchange

Investment Giant eToro planning cryptocurrency exchange

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eToro, the social investing platform, is launching a full-fledged cryptocurrency exchange and mobile wallet and expanding into the United States. eToro, the multi-asset broker for retail investors that in March raised $100m for expansion into new markets, plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange.

On Tuesday, the European brokerage giant eToro became the latest to announce a push into the American crypto market. It plans to offer 10 different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, Ethereum Classic, NEO, and EOS.

EToro, which made the announcement at the Consensus conference in New York, launched in Israel in 2007. Since then, it has obtained a big footprint in Europe and the U.K. thanks in part to its mobile stock-buying apps. In recent years, the company’s crypto business has boomed with 70% of its users trading digital currency.

The move comes amid heightened demand for digital money among retail investors that has in part been driven by huge rises in the prices of the leading cryptocurrencies. However, there have also been big falls and the volatile nature of the assets has drawn the attention of regulators, which are keen to assess the potential risks and benefits of crytocurrencies to the wider market.

eToro offers trading in 10 cryptocurrencies — including the well-known bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and XRP — and plans to add more in the coming months, it said.

EToro CEO Yoni Assia acknowledged in an interview with Fortune that his company will face entrenched competitors in the U.S., but he predicted the company’s unusual social media features would help it gain a foothold. Those features let users create a public profile of their investments, which in turn allows others on eToro to track and copy their trading decisions.

Previously, eToro offered crypto trading only on a very limited basis. For example, in 2014 it introduced contracts for difference (CFDs) in which users could bet on the direction of bitcoin’s price without actually touching the cryptocurrency.
Then early last year, the company enabled customers to buy or sell XRP, ether and litecoin on its platform, but it did not allow them to deposit or withdraw cryptocurrencies from their accounts, according to eToro’s terms and conditions.
Now eToro plans to launch a true cryptocurrency exchange, plus a corresponding mobile wallet, sometime in 2018. The new exchange will have bonus over-the-counter trading options for institutional investors.

Setting eToro apart from other exchanges, top cryptocurrency traders will be able to reap income by making their portfolios transparent on eToro and allowing other traders to copy their trades.