Competition among services that let U.S. customers buy and sell cryptocurrency has heated up this year.
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.
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. (The public sharing feature is optional given that many people may be reluctant to post their portfolio for the world to see).
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Assia added that the company’s big balance sheet and financial firepower would help it crack the U.S. market. Earlier this year, eToro raised $100 million, bringing its total funding to $162 million.
EToro isn’t the only company hoping to become a crypto brokerage in the U.S. and challenge incumbents like Coinbase and Circle. For example, stock trading app Robinhood is branching out from its roots in equity and mutual fund trading to also handle cyptocurrency transactions.
Assia was more circumspect, however, about exactly when and where eToro will debut in the U.S. Assia says the company will begin by offering only cryptocurrencies (rather than equities), and only in some states, including California.
Due to a patchwork of state regulations, including New York’s famous “bit-license,” companies face considerable administrative hurdles to operate in the United States.
There is also considerable uncertainty about whether certain digital tokens are in fact securities that must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Assia, however, is confident that the digital assets eToro plans to list are currencies not securities, and pointed to the company’s role in Europe as a broker and its large compliance staff.
Assia added that he expects eToro will list as many as 15 tokens by the end of the year. The company also plans to open a global wallet and exchange service later this year that is aimed at institutional traders.