That sound you hear is the soft but steady drumbeat of cryptocurrencies going mainstream.
Retail brokerage TD Ameritrade, which holds $1.2 trillion in client assets, is one of 16 companies involved in the initial funding round of a cryptocurrency exchange created by Chicago derivatives market Eris Exchange LLC. ErisX, the new exchange, will be open for business in early 2019 with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulating it.
A spokesperson told ThirtyK the company would be conducting a second round of funding but wouldn’t provide a timeline. Eris is an eight-year-old firm that offers cash-settled swap futures. Swap futures are transactions involving futures contracts that enable traders to hedge risk.
TD Ameritrade clients could already trade bitcoin (BTC) futures over the CBOE Futures Exchange, J.B. Mackenzie, TD Ameritrade’s managing director of futures and foreign exchange, told Reuters. However, using ErisX allows TD clients and other investors to trade bitcoin futures as well as those of such cryptocurrencies as ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH) and litecoin (LTC).
The other backers in the crypto exchange include , which is a prominent investor in blockchain technology, DRW Holdings and Virtu Financial, both of which already hold stakes in Eris. As for TD, this investment is a part of its big push into the brave, new, digital world.
“Our retail clients are seeking to access and trade digital currency products in the same way they do with traditional capital markets, through a legitimate, regulated and transparent exchange,” Steve Quirk, executive vice president of trading and education at TD Ameritrade, said in a statement quoted by Bloomberg.