In brief

  • FTX is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world.
  • FTX.US has more limited offerings.
  • The US firm is working to bring crypto derivatives trading to the platform, to be regulated by the CFTC.

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX has quickly shot to the forefront of American crypto consciousness. Just see its long-term deal to name the Miami Heat arena and the ubiquitous media appearances of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried.

But many of FTX's financial products, including the popular derivatives products it made its name on, aren't available to U.S. customers, who must use its affiliate, FTX.US. 

FTX.US president Brett Harrison told Decrypt the firm is working to change that and aims to offer derivatives trading within a year. 

"There are a number of contingencies involved in establishing this business, most importantly approval and support from the CFTC, so the exact timeline is difficult to estimate," he said. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates derivatives markets in the country.

Derivatives products, such as Bitcoin futures, allow people to buy or sell assets at a pre-established price. They represent a way to bet on crypto prices, to be sure, but they're also a way to hedge risk in volatile markets.

FTX.US has two options for making derivatives trading a reality, assuming it can get approval from the CFTC: applying for its own license or acquiring another business that already has such a license. "Our plans for which path to take...are still under discussion and evolving," he said.

Harrison stressed that even if the plan happens, it won't make FTX.US look exactly like FTX.  "FTX US and FTX are separate companies and these will be entirely separate businesses," he said. "Any derivatives trading on FTX US will be regulated by the CFTC and will thus involve different requirements (products, margin, etc.) from those on the international side."

FTX is one of the top five exchanges globally in terms of trading volume, per data from Nomics, registering over $11.5 billion in the last 24 hours. By contrast, FTX.US has tallied $220 million in the same time frame.