Israeli-based social trading platform eToro is expanding to the U.S. If all goes according to plan, U.S. citizens will be able to trade cryptocurrencies on the company’s platform sometime later this year.
The announcement, which eToro made today, May 15, 2018, at Consensus in New York City, comes on the heels of a $100 million funding round that eToro received in March 2018, bringing its total funding to $162 million. The company said at the time it would use the funds to expand into new markets.
eToro is a regulated global brokerage firm for trading cryptocurrencies, stocks, commodities, ETFs and more. Currently, the company has offices in Israel, throughout Europe and in the U.K. Now it is gearing up to launch in the U.S. American citizens will only be able to trade cryptocurrencies on eToro at first.
According eToro CEO and founder Yoni Assia, who spoke with Bitcoin Magazine, the company is currently in talks with U.S. financial institutions, regulators and regulatory advisors, and has already registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The company is opening an office in New Jersey, says Assia.
“We believe we are going to see trillions of dollars moving into crypto and blockchain assets, and as we are one of the largest players in Europe and expanding to Asia as well; it seems logical to also have a significant footprint in the U.S,” he said.
The company is also aiming to launch a crypto wallet later this year. The digital wallet, which will enable users to hold multiple cryptocurrencies, will be available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Founded in 2007, eToro now has over 10 million registered users trading more than 1,200 instruments, including Apple, Microsoft, Snap and Facebook, on the platform. The company has 500 employees.
In January 2014, eToro launched bitcoin (BTC) trading, becoming one of the first mainstream trading platforms to embrace cryptocurrency. But, really, eToro began getting involved in the crypto scene even earlier than that. Assia started looking into Bitcoin in 2011, going to conferences and meeting people in the crypto community. Two years later, he co-wrote the Colored Coins white paper with Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin. (Colored Coins basically allows the creation of multiple assets on top of the Bitcoin blockchain.)
Cryptocurrency trading has turned into a profitable business for eToro. Between 2014 and early 2017, only 5 percent of eToro users were trading cryptocurrencies, Assia says. Then in March 2017, eToro added Ethereum (ETH) and five more coins in September 2017. At that point, “we started seeing a lot of our users flocking to cryptocurrencies,” he said.
Today, eToro carries the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap, and more than half of eToro users are trading cryptocurrencies on the platform. “They are interested today in cryptocurrencies more than they are interested in any other asset,” Assia said.
Social features are what sets eToro apart from other cryptocurrency exchanges. Users can send messages and share trading info among themselves. A feature called CopyTrader allows users to replicate other users’ trades. The concept is similar to mirror trading, a well-established trader strategy. eToro also lets traders invest in a Crypto CopyFund, which provides a diversified portfolio of major crypto assets.
Assia sees blockchain technology as a true game changer. “I think that it is an invention that is potentially as big as the internet and electricity, so one of the core big inventions of humanity,” he said.