NYSE Parent ICE to Roll Out Crypto Exchange

August 6, 2018 — 11:28 AM EDT

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE), parent of the New York Stock Exchange, has announced the development of an online platform called "Bakkt" that can buy, sell, store or spend cryptocurrencies, allowing brokerage clients to add bitcoin to a traditional portfolio. The new exchange could dampen efforts to create bitcoin-based ETFs, which have run into roadblocks. The platform must get regulatory approval from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

A November rollout is expected to include physically delivered bitcoin futures contracts that put the digital coin into customers' settled accounts, unlike CME Group Inc.'s (CME) current bitcoin futures contracts, which are cash settled. Bitcoin futures trading is currently offered by a variety of U.S. brokers that include Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, Forex.Com and Just2Trade.

Oanda Named World's Best Retail FX Platform

Forex industry publication FX Week has named Oanda as the world's best retail FX platform in the 2018 e-FX awards. This marks a second win at the event for the popular proprietary platform, which has garnered praise from many corners in recent years. The broker also offers industry standard MetaTrader 4 to retail clients. FX Week operates out of London, providing daily updates and 50 print issues per year. 

Oanda's president and CEO Vatsa Narasimha commented on the award, stating "we've worked hard to meet the ever-changing needs of our clients through enhancements to our institutional-grade trading platform, cutting-edge trading tools, advanced charting solutions and award-winning educational material." In May, Oanda accepted an offer from CVC Capital Partners Asia Fund to acquire all outstanding equity, but the acquisition isn't expected to affect current operations or an aggressive technology buildout.

[Check out Investopedia's forex broker reviews to find a reliable brokerage for your currency trades.]

Swissquote Reports Strong Forex Income

Swissquote reported record revenues for the first half of 2018, up 30.3% year over year at 118 million Swiss francs (around $118.3 million). eForex income rose by 7.5% to 35.1 million Swiss francs, a new record, driven by a 20.2% increase in trading volume. The broker reported strong results despite an increase in expenses, driven by technology investment, marketing and new employment costs. Client assets passed 25.5 billion Swiss francs for the first time in the broker's history, driven by a 6.3% increase in client accounts.

ChoiceTrade Completes Equity Crowdfunding

ChoiceTrade just closed a five-month crowdfunding effort that may speed efforts to partner with a cryptocurrency exchange. The commission-free broker is engaged in a major technology upgrade, following a hook-up with Millennium BlockChain, and it hopes to roll out crypto trading later this year in direct competition with rival Robinhood. The Puerto Rico-based broker currently offers commission-free trading on U.S.-listed stocks and ETFs through a desktop and mobile platform that can also access deeply discounted options commissions. 

No Volume Changes Reported After ESMA Implementation

A variety of retail brokerages, platform integrators and market connectivity companies are reporting no changes in forex or CFD volume following three days of trading under new European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) rules that restrict margin on major currency pairs to 30:1 from prior levels that ran as high as 200:1. The rules also mandate negative balance protection while adding restrictions to CFD trading.

Media outlets are citing a 2013 Japanese rule change that reduced leverage with similar results; i.e., trading volume remained high and there was no exodus to other jurisdictions. However, it's unwise to trust a few days of August data, especially when worldwide forex volume rises and falls dramatically in reaction to world events. European forex brokers that include IG Group, Dukascopy, FXPro and CMC Markets are taking aggressive steps to retain volume through client transition into professional status and expanding into the Middle East and Asia.