Apex powers Firstrade’s new crypto trading offering

Rick Steves

The digital asset offering is provided by Apex Crypto LLC, which takes care of execution and custody services through a software licensing agreement. 

Firstrade Securities has launched crypto trading on its app through Firstrade Crypto LLC, available in all U.S. states, in a major milestone for the commission-free online brokerage.

By offering stocks/ETFs, options, mutual funds, fixed income, and crypto trading within one platform, Firstrade offers easy access at lower cost. Crypto is available for trading 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, the firm announced.

Firstrade provides free crypto research to support smart decision-making with real-time quotes, profiles, historical charts and live news. The web version will be available soon following the mobile launch.

The crypto trading offering includes 37 of the most traded digital assets, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), Dogecoin (DOGE), Shiba Inu (SHIB), Stellar (XLM), Decentraland (MANA) and Solana (SOL). New coins will be added on a monthly basis.

Firstrade customers can buy or sell fractions or whole coins of crypto at a $1 minimum with instant settlement allowing them to receive funds immediately.

The digital asset offering is provided by Apex Crypto LLC, which takes care of execution and custody services through a software licensing agreement.  Cryptocurrencies are not securities and are not FDIC or SIPC insured.

Crypto is going mainstream

John Liu, CEO of Firstrade, said: “Crypto assets are fast approaching widespread acceptance among financial institutions and investors. Our mission is to provide one platform with unlimited opportunities. It’s become increasingly clear that our customers want to consolidate all their investment products in one place. We’ll continually develop more products and services to help our customers successfully manage their wealth.”

Firstrade offers online brokerage with commission-free trading on stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds and fixed income through its mobile apps and web platform.

The broker is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Apex Crypto wins BitLicense

Apex Crypto, which powers Firstrade’s crypto offering, has recently been granted the so-called BitLicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), joining a handful of firms who the approval to operate in the state.

It now legally operates as a money transmitter and digital currency exchange, after fulfilling various reporting requirements and complying with standards on anti-money laundering, cybersecurity, and consumer protection.

New York is the only state that requires firms dealing in the digital assets to obtain a license to operate. The Empire State has established strong state-based regulation, but the approach has been widely maligned by the crypto community for being one of the strictest laws governing this type of business.

Apex is a financial technology firm that offers clearing, digital custody services and fractional share trading, among others, to its clients. Their offering focuses on enhancing brokerage functions such as opening accounts and onboarding, moving money, deposits and withdrawals.

The firm also opens the door for its partners to include the crypto assets into their clients’ portfolios alongside traditional brokerage assets, which has been disjointed in the past.

Apex, owned by financial technology firm Peak6, went public in February through a merger with Northern Star Investment Corp II in a deal that valued the combined entity at $5 billion.

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