FTX US is a new US-regulated and centralized cryptocurrency exchange that started in 2019, making it one of the newer US exchanges on the market. It aims to become the market leading US regulated exchange over the next two years.
Please note that: FTX US is a US registered exchange only available for US persons and requires compliance with US Know Your Customer regulations (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws. This means all FTX US accounts - individual or corporate - must verify their identity in order to use any feature of the exchange if they want to trade or deposit anything. Non-KYC accounts may only browse the site.
FTX is for international customers and is not available for use to US persons. Currently FTX US has over $10B in 30 day trading volume as of Q4 2021, over 1M users, and boasts up to 8% lower fees compared to US competitors.
History of FTX
Its CEO and Founder is Sam Bankman Fried, who started his career as a trader at Jane Street Capital’s international ETF desk before getting into the cryptocurrency industry.
In 2017, Sam Bankman Fried (SBF) founded Alameda Research, a quantitative trading firm in the cryptocurrency markets, and shortly after, he founded FTX, which started as a derivatives exchange offering cryptocurrency futures trading instruments in April 2019. As of 2021, FTX owns approximately 90% of Alameda Research.
FTX raised $900M from Coinbase Ventures and SoftBank in July at an $18B valuation. FTX handles around 10% of the $3.4T face value of derivatives - mostly futures and options - traded by crypto traders and investors each month.
Today, SBF is well known for being the youngest billionaire in cryptocurrency today. He has been a public figure in the media in regards to the cryptocurrency industry as of late, frequently giving his opinion on regulations and the future of digital and crypto assets.
FTX.US is best for:
- Advanced cryptocurrency traders in the US, especially those who desire access to margin up to 10X
- Crypto-only traders (no stocks offered)
- Active spot traders who desire competitive, low fees with a clearly defined & tiered, trading volume based pricing structure
Pros & Unique Features
The biggest perk of FTX US as compared to its competitors, especially to Coinbase and Gemini, are its low, transparent fees along with its tiered fee structure that is dependent on the user’s 30-day trading volume in USD. Maker and taker fees start at 0.1% and 0.4% respectively, contrasted to the 0.5% minimums for both maker and taker fees on Coinbase Pro and 1.49% fees on Gemini.
Accounts with over $50M of 30D trading volume have 0.00% maker fees and 0.05% taker fees, which are the lowest fee limits a customer would find offered amongst US cryptocurrency exchanges.
FTX US was created by a market leader in liquidity to solve the exact emergent liquidity needs of the cryptocurrency markets, however the order books of the US exchange are separate from those of the main FTX exchange, but note that market makers for both exchanges do overlap.
Regardless, customers will not find issues with liquidity, and for customers needing larger trades to be done, FTX US offers a zero-fee OTC (over-the-counter) trading portal.
Another unique feature of FTX US is that the exchange does not charge any deposit fees for blockchain transfers. In addition, FTX US pays the withdrawal blockchain fees for all tokens except ERC20 (ETH blockchain) and OMNI token withdrawals. This can help save users a lot of money in unnecessary back and forth transaction fees when depositing or withdrawing crypto between wallets.
For advanced cryptocurrency traders, FTX US does offer margin borrowing in its spot market offerings for qualified users and there are fees charged in addition for using it, plus $100K deposited on FTX.US to apply for margin. Qualified users can access up to 10X leverage on the spot markets on FTX US.
[Margin Trading FTX image]
Other unique products FTX US offers include non-fungible tokens (NFT’s), which are tokens that verify ownership of digital assets. Users can bid on and purchase NFT’s, or mint their own new NFT’s and sell them.
FTX US also offers the FTX Card with which users can spend their FTX US balance at merchants worldwide without needing to connect or withdraw to a bank account and pay for products using their crypto or their exchange USD balance.
[FTX card image]
FTX US also offers a new product called FTX Pay for getting paid in crypto or fiat with their fast, secure, and low-fee payment processor.
For customers who have the need for larger orders that cannot be filled with the liquidity available on the exchange itself, there is also an over-the-counter (OTC) trading portal available that offers zero fees, tight spreads, and fast settlement times for larger market participants.
There are two mobile apps offered- the FTX mobile app for both Google Play and the Apple App Store, and the FTXUS Pro mobile app for both Google Play and the Apple App Store.
[FTX US apps]
Lastly, FTX US has also recently added product offerings for US regulated derivatives with which users can trade Bitcoin and Ethereum options and futures 24x7 on a US licensed platform, in partnership with LedgerX.
Cons & Disadvantages
FTX US certainly has some disadvantages, especially given that it is newer and has had led time to establish itself in the US crypto marketplace as compared to exchanges like Coinbase. There are substantially less trading pairs offered as compared to other top US exchanges or as compared to FTX for international customers. This is partly due to regulatory reasons for being allowed to serve US customers.
The main disadvantage is that FTX.US is a more basic version of the FTX international exchange, with a much smaller crypto selection. It also lacks any offerings of leverage crypto tokens, tokenized stocks, prediction tokens, or futures instruments. FTX International also offers crypto staking rewards and lending rewards that FTX US does not. Because of this, advanced cryptocurrency traders in the US are limited to only spot trading with optional margin that requires a large minimum deposit and custody ($100K) to use the margin. There are also a few major popular cryptocurrencies missing from the offerings, including Cardano (ADA) and Polkadot (DOT).
As of Q4 2021, FTX US offers a selection of 22 coins, most of which are USD pair cryptocurrencies. This selection includes popular cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, Dogecoin, Tether, Litecoin, Chainlink, Uniswap, Sushiswap, and Tron.
This is still way less cryptocurrency pairs (both USD and Bitcoin pairs) than offered by its competitors Binance US, Coinbase, and Voyager. FTX International offers over 275 cryptocurrencies, but this exchange is not available for US persons.
FTX US charges trading fees when the customer buys or sells any crypto asset. There are also fees instituted for certain deposit and withdrawal types with some exceptions.
For trading fees, FTX US uses a tiered fee structure dependent on the customer’s 30 day trading volume, in addition to varying fees for making a market (maker) vs. taking liquidity from the market (being a taker).
Taker fees are charged on market orders that are filled immediately, and maker fees are charged on orders that are not filled immediately but rather are placed in the orderbook as limit orders.
The table below shows the tiered fee structure.
30 Day Volume (USD)
Other Trading Fees
FTX US does not currently charge for wire deposits or withdrawals but otherwise plans to charge a 1% fee with a $5 minimum and $35 maximum. There are no inactive account fees charged.
$0.50 per ACH is the standard ACH fee, with these exceptions:
- If it is the customer’s first ACH deposit, the fee is waived
- If the customer has not deposited via ACH in the last week, the fee is waived if over $10
- If customer has deposited with ACH in the last week, the fee is waived if over $100
Account Tiers & Limits
Note that for US persons, there are two levels of KYC, creating two tiers of accounts.
An unverified account can explore the site but cannot trade nor deposit anything.
For both individual and corporate accounts, a Tier 1 account has limited functionality with $10,000/day in deposit limits and $300,000 in lifetime deposit limits.
A Tier 2 account has full access with no limits. Deposit and withdrawal is supported via wire transfer, ACH, and blockchain transfer.
FTX US works with banking on-ramps that make depositing and withdrawing US dollars fiat a simple experience for users. They have also integrated stablecoins with USD to aggregate liquidity and for ease of use, meaning customers can easily exchange their USD to USDT and other stablecoins as desired.
Crypto Custody and Safety
FTX US has industry standard security, which includes a custom-built hot and cold wallet solution, full external backing of all hot wallet funds, and relationships with industry leading custodians. As of Nov. 2021, there have been no reported hacks nor other security incidents involving FTX.
One important security feature FTX US implements is mandatory two-factor authentication (2FA). Customers can choose to use either SMS via phone, Google Authenticator or Authy, or an even more secure option such as FIDO2 using a hardware authentication key. 2FA is also supported for all withdrawals, along with a withdrawal password entirely separate from the user’s main password.
For more security, FTX US supports whitelisting by IP address and wallet addresses. If an IP address is whitelisted, only that specific IP address is allowed to log into an account. Whitelisting a wallet address makes it so that withdrawals can only be made to that specific address on the whitelist.
Withdrawal lock is another security feature offered, meaning after an account status change such as the removal of 2FA or a password change, withdrawals on the account may be locked for at least 24 hours.
FTX US is also unique in that it offers users the ability to create subaccounts and custom logins. This allows users to give other people the ability to log into the account with configurable permissions.
FTX.US Review Conclusion
FTX US is a strong choice especially for larger US-based market participants and traders who value liquidity, lower fees than the competition, and the growing reputation of the FTX brand along with their many other product offerings such as NFT’s, FTX Pay, and more.
- While its cryptocurrency offerings cannot compete with other US competitors, larger players who want to trade the major cryptocurrencies FTX offers will enjoy the market-leading liquidity offered.
- Customers who desire advanced features such as margin trading can take advantage of the 10X margin offered if they are approved and custody at least $100K USD in their account
- Clients can also access the entire FTX suite of products including FTX Pay, FTX Card, NFT’s with their FTX US account, and coming additions, plus access to leading security
- Clients enjoy some of the lowest commissions compared to any other US exchange, especially for OTC trades that offers zero fees
For US customers who value having access to a greater selection of cryptocurrencies and for whom competitive trading fees based on tiered trading volume is not a factor, Voyager and Gemini can both make good alternatives.
Voyager is a public company that offers its customers 60+ cryptocurrencies and competitive fees, but uses a mobile only interface and app. Gemini and Voyager both offer the chance to earn interest on your crypto account balances, while FTX US does not.
For customers who desire to trade and invest in stocks in addition to top cryptocurrencies and do not care about having a smaller selection from which to choose or only desire access to the top 20 cryptos on the market, Webull is a broker that offers US equities and cryptos. Other US competitors to FTX US include Coinbase and Binance US.
FTX US vs FTX
The main differences between FTX US vs FTX for international clients is in the functionality of the US version being a lot more basic, along with less cryptocurrencies and trading pairs available, no futures, leveraged token products, nor tokenized stocks or prediction tokens are available due to US regulatory uncertainty.
There are no fee discounts using FTT for paying fees as is offered in FTXl, since the FTT token (native utility token of FTX) is not approved in the US. FTX International also offers crypto staking rewards and lending rewards that FTX US does not.
FTX US vs Coinbase Pro
The trading fees for Coinbase Pro, while substantially lower than for Coinbase itself, are still not competitive with FTX US, as fees start at 0.5% for both makers and takers while FTX US fees start at 0.1% and 0.4% for makers and takers, respectively. For larger market participants trading over $300M USD of volume, the maker fees then drop to 0.00%, while with FTX US they drop to 0.00% with only over $50M of 30-day trade volume.
However, Coinbase Pro will offer US traders more cryptocurrency trading pairs and coins to choose from than FTX US currently does. FTX US offers margin trading at a maximum of 10X leverage while Coinbase Pro offers a maximum of 3x leverage.
Overall, advanced and experienced traders moving large volumes will prefer FTX but smaller traders who prefer a larger amount of coins to choose from may prefer Coinbase Pro.
FTX US vs Coinbase
Coinbase has some of the highest fees in the industry which are markedly higher than for Coinbase Pro and as compared to FTX US. Coinbase is a better option for a beginner friendly exchange with an intuitive UI and a user who values a public company with a large US brand presence.
Both exchanges offer similar security, and Coinbase offers a lot more choices between cryptocurrencies and trading pairs, however the fees are significantly higher in turn.
Fees at Coinbase are 0.5% per trade, an additional 1.49% for bank account or Coinbase Wallet purchases, and an additional 3.99% for credit card purchases. Coinbase is more designed for buy-and-hold investors over active traders who may prefer FTX US.
FTX US vs Gemini
Gemini currently offers US customers around 50 coins and 75 trading pairs and an excellent mobile and computer UI trading interface.
Their processes for deposits, account limits, KYC are very similar, both are regulated exchanges that have never been hacked.
The minimum fee tier at Gemini starts at 0.35% for takers and 0.1% for makers, with an 0.2% auction fee, and Gemini uses a similar 30day trading volume schedule for these fees similar to FTX.
FTX US vs Kraken
Kraken is another US exchange that also offers margin trading to high net worth investors in the US. Kraken also uses a maker-taker fee schedule similar to that of FTX US but the fees are significantly higher and start at 0.16% maker fees and 0.26% taker fees at the entry level.
Even at the higher volume tier, FTX US fees will be cheaper for larger market participants, while Kraken’s taker fees only reach 0.12% at the lowest. The benefit of Kraken is more cryptocurrencies and trading pairs are offered.
FTX US vs KuCoin
Kucoin is another US-friendly exchange with a great UI and brand presence, lots of coins offered, and friendly for both beginner users and active, advanced traders alike.
Kucoin’s spot trading offers are very extensive, with over 450 cryptocurrencies listed and over 900 trading pairs, which is the highest as compared to almost any other US exchange. Kucoin also offers margin trading in the USA for qualified individuals.
Note that Kucoin has previously suffered a hack in 2020 in which the funds were returned, while FTX has never been hacked.
Kucoin has an established reputation while FTX US is a newer exchange, and US investors will find the fees extremely competitive for Kucoin, with rebates even offers to market makers for the highest levels of volume. Fees at Kucoin start at 0.1% for makers and 0.1% for takers at the lowest volume tier, which is lower for takers at Kucoin than it is at FTX US.
https://www.reddit.com/r/BitcoinBeginners/comments/mvtxwt/coinbase_pro_vs_cryptocom_vs_binanceus_vs_gemini/ - User experience from Reddit comparing 4 exchanges for fees for trading and deposit/withdrawals.
https://www.reddit.com/r/CryptoCurrency/comments/mpi5ed/why_nobody_here_is_talking_about_ftx_exchange/ User experience regarding the FTX brand and offerings.
https://www.reddit.com/r/solana/comments/p5jjmk/anyone_using_ftxus_for_trading_having_issue/ User from FTX US discussing trade execution review.
https://www.reddit.com/r/ethtrader/comments/leqnfw/ftxus_best_exchange_for_lowno_fees/ User comparing FTX US fees.