FTX.com has made a name for itself in recent months. Its extensive range of trading products, brand new features, and a smooth sleek trading experience has enticed many traders to sign up for the exchange.
Due to the stringent nature of US financial regulation US users can not sign up for FTX.com and so FTX.US was born. But can it live up to reputation that FTX.com set? Keep reading and find out.
|Founders||Sam Bankman-Fried, Gary Wang|
|Location||United States of America|
|Available Markets||BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, PAXG, USDT|
|KYC and AML||Needed for Withdrawals >10000$ and FIAT Deposits|
|US Availability||US Users Allowed to Register Except users from the states of New York and Washington|
|Trading Fees||0.10% Maker, 0.40% Taker|
In this review we will assess FTX.us on 3 key criteria. Safety, Security, and Regulation. Trading Fees. Markets and Standout Features. We will conclude by giving our conclusion and score rating.
Use the contents table below to navigate to the section most interesting or relevant to you.
FTX was originally founded and launched by Sam-Bankman Fried and Gary Wang in 2019. Both founders graduated from MIT. Sam progressed on to join Jane Street a quantitative trading firm based on Wall Street. While Gary became a software engineer at Google aggregating prices for their Google flights service.
Their combined knowledge in both pricing systems and quantitative trading is what brought them both into the cryptocurrency realm. In the midst of the 2017 bull run they founded their own quantitative trading firm known as Alameda Research which set out to employ quantitative trading methods in the cryptocurrency market. This firm grew to become one of the largest trading firms in the cryptocurrency market. Currently Alameda does over $600 million in trading a day.
In an interview with Venture Coinist Sam outlined that it was the launch of Alameda Research which triggered their inspiration to launch their own cryptocurrency exchange. Subsequently launching FTX.com.
It was from the launch of FTX.com that FTX.us arrived. Hoping to take market share from already established US exchanges.
Safety, Security, and Regulation
Like most other exchanges FTX has support for standard Google 2 factor authentication (2FA). 2FA enables users to add an extra layer of protection to their account. When you login with 2FA enabled you will be asked to enter a 6 digit pin generated on the Google Authenticator App. This ensures that even if your accounts email and password to FTX is compromised your accounts funds will still remain secure.
FTX also has support for withdrawal passwords. When this setting is enabled users will be asked to enter an additional password if they wish to withdraw funds. Again adding an additional layer of security to your funds.
Since launch FTX has not had a breach in either customer funds or data.
FTX uses cold storage to ensure the safety of user funds. Cold storage is where the keys to coins are kept offline which in theory can prevent hackers getting access. A smaller portion of coins are kept in a hot wallet which facilitates day to day transactions such as withdrawals.
Before signing up to an exchange platform stability is always something to keep in mind. Nobody wants to trade on a platform that is going offline. It can cost traders time and money.
FTX’s platform stability has been overall very good. The platform had some minor teething issues when starting out but these have largely been resolved.
On what has been coined Black Thursday where on March 12th Bitcoin crashed by over 50%, FTX, along with every other major exchange had issues with downtime. FTX went temporarily offline for spots throughout the day and had other issues where orders were not going through. However overall it did better than average on perhaps the biggest stress test in crypto history.
KYC and AML
FTX’s KYC system is similar to that of other US based exchanges. There are 4 levels of KYC. By providing more documentation you increase your KYC level and unlock extra features. For example, increased withdrawal limits.
When you first create an account on FTX.us you will be at level 0. At this level you will have a have a life time withdrawal limit of 10,000$.
To get to level 1 you must submit basic information such as your name, state, and address. You do not have to provide any official documents at this level. By doing this you will gain the ability to withdraw up to 10,000$ a day as well as get to use ACH bank deposits.
To get to level 2 you have to provide a picture of your passport, as well as a selfie of you holding your passport.
Finally to get to level 3 you have to complete all previous levels as well as provide proof of address and a bank statement. This will remove any withdrawal limits, you will gain full wire transfers, and essentially full access to what the platform has to offer.
Completing the KYC is straightforward once you have the relative documentation at hand. Simply navigate to the KYC tab within settings. Once your application has been submitted FTX staff will review your application within 24 hours.
Currently FTX.US does not accept users from the states of New York or Washington
FTX.US has done the utmost to be regulatory friendly with US financial lawmakers. This exchange has been built from the ground up to essentially be just that: A US based exchange so I am confident that it will stay on the good side of US financial regulations.
This does come up at cost when compared to FTX.com but we will address this later.
Trading fees on FTX.us are tiered based on how much you trade. So the more you trade the less you will pay in fees as a percentage. Below is a table of the full fee schedule.
|Tier||30 Day Volume (USD)||Maker Fee||Taker Fee|
Withdrawal and Deposit Fees
FTX does not charge for deposits or withdrawals with cryptocurrency. FIAT deposits made via ACH transfers also do not incur any fees.
When using wire transfers there is a 1% fee up to a maximum fee of 35$ and a minimum fee of 5$.
FTX Fees in Comparison to the Competition
Due to the tiered nature of FTX’s fee schedule it is hard to make a direct comparison to that of other exchanges as the fees you pay are based off your trading volume. For simplicity in the table below we will assume tier 0.
|Exchange||Maker Fee||Taker Fee|
As you can see from the table above one of FTX.US’ main competitors is charging much lower fees than them. At the first tier Binance.US’ taker fees are 0.3% cheaper.
One interesting point is how much more expensive fees are on FTX.US than FTX.com. The maker fee is 0.08% more expensive and the taker fee is 0.33% more. However as you go up in 30 day trading volume the fees become rather similar.
CEO Sam Bankman-Fried went on Twitter to state that this was due to the increased cost of business within the US.
Markets and Standout Features
Perhaps the largest discrepancy between FTX.com and FTX.US are the unique features and variety of markets. FTX.us is completely stripped down when compared to its sister site.
Currently there are only 6 available cryptocurrencies on the platform. BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, PAXG, and USDT. Wiht both a USD and USDT pair. This is compared to FTX.com which has over 100 markets.
But some might say that comparing it to an exchange operating outside of the US is unfair which is true. However, if we compare it to Binance.US it still comes out well below par, with Binance.US having 3x more tradeable markets.
In terms of features on FTX.US there are very few. On FTX.com there is leveraged tokens, options trading, prediction markets, and Quant Zone. However, on FTX.US none of these are present.
However that is not to say that it is all poor for FTX.US. They’re offering up to 10x leverage on a US based exchange, they have a solid mobile app for trading on the go, and it is easy to get orders filled. The fundamentals are definitely present.
Stringent US regulatory policy may be what is holding the exchange back. We have seen this with other US based exchanges where they are incredibly reluctant to launch new markets due to the fear of catching the eye of regulators.
FTX’s move into the US market is a positive for the cryptocurrency market. The more competition the better off the consumer. Increased cryptocurrency business within the US may also encourage regulators to loosen the financial regulation surrounding cryptocurrency.
However, in FTX.US’ current state there is not much that would entice me to sign up to the platform. Other US based platforms currently have a clear advantage. Both in terms of fees and platform features.
That is not to say that FTX.US’ current state will be all that it amounts to. The exchange is brand new, there is still huge room for improvement and the FTX team have already demonstrated their ability to create a great platform once. Why could they not do the same again?