Crypto exchange regulation has been frustratingly complex for crypto traders in recent years, being about as difficult to understand and navigate through as trying to play pin the tail on donkey while blindfolded and submerged in chocolate pudding. FTX have finally overcome what has felt like a bad dating show about who is dating who, but instead, with crypto traders trying to figure out which exchanges can operate in which countries and why, with a constantly changing framework to work within.
In 2020, Binance had to give United States users the boot from their platform and pushed them to use Binance.us, which is a poor substitute for the original platform and not even available in all states. This announcement sent shockwaves through the crypto industry as crypto users were left in constant worry about getting kicked from their favourite platforms. Continued announcements, such as the UK also banning Binance, continued to rise throughout 2020 and 2021. FTX US has emerged from these draconian regulations in all the splendour of a knight in shining armour wearing a cape to bring clarity, regulation, safety and most importantly, a much-needed confidence boost for crypto enthusiasts based in the good old USA.
If you want to check out a review on the international version of FTX we just so happen to have one which can be found here.
FTX History, The Who and The What
FTX was launched in May 2019 by co-founders Sam Bankman-Fried and Gary Wang. The exchange launch enjoyed early support with an endorsement from the quant crypto trading firm Alameda Research, which was not surprising at all since Bankman-Fried also founded Alameda Research in 2017.
FTX quickly grew in popularity and adoption within the crypto trading ecosystem by focusing on futures and leverage trading, but have now grown to also feature things like simple spot trading, staking, an NFT marketplace and even supports FTX Pay with a debit card available for US members. The FTX exchange is a great place for an “everything solution,” for crypto traders, holders and investors for both beginners and experienced traders alike.
It is due to the already mentioned regulatory scrutiny that led FTX to create their subsidiary for US residents FTX US.
FTX US Review
FTX US have their headquarters built right on US soil, based in Berkeley, California. Having a physical headquarters in the US is always a good first step to keep old Uncle Sam happy. FTX US enjoyed massive success right from the get-go with daily trading volumes being between $150 million and $1 billion in the first half of 2021, making them instantly one of the largest and most popular crypto exchanges in the US by volume.
Their success and growth story does not stop there, while already well established, FTX received backing in July 2021 in the form of $900 million dollars from over 60 investors including the likes of Paul Tudor Jones, Coinbase Ventures, VanEck with other notable players and VC firms such as Paradigm and Sequoia capital and the private equity group Thoma Bravo, giving FTX the whopping valuation of $18 billion dollars at the time and now worth an even more impressive $25 billion. There is some big money backing the continued expansion and success of FTX.
With some of that money, FTX US continues to gain exposure in the United States, helping to pave crypto adoption for the mainstream and bringing crypto into the spotlight with their recent acquisition of the NBA arena where the Miami Heat play, becoming the “Official and Exclusive Cryptocurrency Exchange Partner of the Miami Heat,” and having the arena name changed to the appropriately named “FTX Arena.”
The FTX team have also signed an approximately $10M international rights sponsorship with the Golden State Warriors basketball team giving FTX brand placement with the Warriors’ G League club and the NBA 2k eSports team, in-arena sign placement at Chase Center and obtains the teams NFT rights. For anyone who isn’t a fan of Basketball, FTX was also the first crypto exchange to sign a 5-year sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball to allow the FTX logo to appear on umpire uniforms, giving FTX worldwide marketing rights and exposure to MLB’s broadcast, digital and social media platforms. If eSports is more your speed, FTX also acquired naming rights to eSports organization TSM in a $210m dollar deal, the largest deal in eSports history.
FTX US is really getting their name out there on the road to becoming a household name for Crypto-loving Americans.
FTX US Exchange Features
Starting off with one of the most important things and that is regulation and safety. FTX US is regulated at both the federal and state level so you don’t need to worry about Uncle Sam breaking through your door for buying Bitcoin, nor worry about a rug pull with the team running off with your funds. FTX US is registered as a Money Services Business with FinCEN and is compliant with the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act.
The FTX US platform layout is beautifully designed, easy to use and navigate, laid out similar to the original FTX platform which enabled FTX to quickly become one of the most popular exchanges on the planet. This is one of the things that makes FTX and FTX US great for any skill level of trader or crypto investor.
Crypto exchanges such as Binance and Crypto.com have become so much more than just simple crypto trading exchanges and FTX US has followed suit, providing crypto users with a one-stop-shop to meet many crypto needs such as earning staking rewards, minting, buying and selling NFTs, trading derivatives, providing merchant services with FTX Pay and even having a debit card for those of us looking to ditch the bank.
The FTX US exchange itself is intuitive and easy to use whether you are a day trader, or simply just want to buy and hold crypto. Trading with up to 10x leverage is supported on the platform and while FTX US does not offer as many assets as their FTX counterpart, leaving some rare altcoin gem hunters disappointed, they still support many large-cap and mid-cap coins with support for more coins being added all the time. At the time of writing, FTX US supports over 20 different cryptocurrencies which can be found here.
Withdrawal and Deposit Options
FTX US supports deposits and withdrawals in the form of wire transfer, ACH, Debit or Credit Card, Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN) and Crypto. Be careful with debit or credit cards and always be sure to check with your bank first to see if they allow crypto-related transactions. Many crypto users, (myself included) have had issues with their bank blocking crypto transactions (so naturally, I changed banks) and there have also been cases where users get blocked access to their accounts altogether for making crypto-related transactions. Also, be aware that the banks may also charge additional fees for debit or credit card transfers. ACH is generally the cheapest and safest way to deposit funds to your trading account.
Many users mention that their deposits typically land in their FTX US account within the same day on weekdays which is great, though ACH transfers can take 2-3 days sometimes up to 5 which can be a real bummer if you are in a rush to buy a coin before it pumps, so just make sure you have some cash at the ready already on the platform to take quick advantage of price movements
I know, fees… A topic nobody ever wants to think about. Luckily FTX US is easier on the wallet than many other major exchanges out there being a low-cost leader in the space. And, as our way of saying thank you for being a Coin Bureau supporter we actually have a great offer for FTX US if you sign up using this link, you get the first $30 dollars in fees covered and 10% off trading fees for life! Which is pretty darn slick.
FTX US has a tiered fee structure for all spot markets which covers the maker and taker fees. The fee percentage is based on the amount a trader is trading but even the highest fee is still below half of a percent. Here is what the fee structure looks like:
FTX US reserves the right to charge a fee for USD wire transfers, deposits and withdrawals. At the time of writing, FTX US is not charging at all for wire deposits or withdrawals with is fantastic, but they do reserve the right to charge 1% on deposits/withdrawals but are capped at a maximum of $35 dollars and a minimum of $5 dollars. You can find a breakdown of the fees here.
$0.50 is the standard fee for ACH transfers, however, the folks at FTX US are kind enough to waive the fee for first time ACH deposits, if a user has not deposited in the last week and the deposit is over $10 dollars, or if a user has deposited in the last week but the deposit amount is over $100 dollars. Plenty of options to fund your FTX US account for no cost which is always nice to see.
There are no deposit fees for blockchain transfers and FTX US will pay the withdrawal blockchain fees for all tokens except for ERC20/ETH & OMNI token withdrawals.
Ah staking rewards…Is there anything better than free passive crypto? FTX US users can earn staking rewards on their crypto balances through the FTX US app. Users will be eligible to earn rewards of up to 8% APY on certain tokens, which is higher than the staking rewards offered by most exchanges. While the staking program is technically still in “beta,” users will be able to find the tokens that are available to stake directly within the app, FTX supports staking for FTT, UXBT, SOL, SRM, FIDA and RAY.
Though it is branded as FTX US, the exchange is actually open to anyone worldwide with the exception of New York, Cuba, Crimea and Sevastopol, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, Antigua or Barbuda, Sudan, Ontario or Japan.
Security and KYC
FTX US supports two-factor authentication such as Google Authenticator to safeguard access to your account. Users can (and should) set passwords on the account for things like withdrawals and logins and choose the option to only allow withdrawals to whitelisted addresses so no shady characters can withdraw your funds into their accounts.
There is KYC needed, so no anonymous sign-ups here. Users will need to provide their name, proof of residence, date of birth, government registered ID document, social security number, and a selfie to confirm identity as well as disclose the source of funds.
FTX US Debit Card
As someone whose income is 100% paid in crypto myself, I love crypto debit cards as they make my life so easy. The FTX card is powered by Swipe Visa and is accepted anywhere that Visa is accepted which is almost everywhere. The card is connected to the user’s FTX US account so when a user makes a purchase with the card it will automatically make the purchase from the user’s FTX US account balance.
What is great about this card is that funds do not have to be sold into USD then loaded onto the card separately like most crypto debit cards. Cardholders are free to hold any token they want on FTX US such as Bitcoin, and the Bitcoin will be converted automatically to the USD needed at the time of purchase. The FTX card is available only to FTX US users and US residents with a valid SSN/ITIN, with hopes of offering the card to additional regions in the future. There are no fees to use the FTX card and users will also receive a virtual card right away while they wait for the physical one to be delivered in the mail which takes about 7-14 business days.
Users of FTX US can also use FTX pay to get paid or pay in crypto or fiat with FTX’s fast and secure, low-fee payment processor. FTX Pay is a widget that can be placed on a website, app, or store that allows users to accept crypto and fiat payments. It is customizable and allows users to receive payments according to their requirements.
FTX US NFT Market
Boom! FTX US really upped their game here competing with the big dog Binance in bringing a very convenient NFT marketplace directly onto the platform. I really like this added functionality as it brings NFTs to the masses and makes everything easy and familiar. Anyone who has ever used something simple like a banking app can navigate a crypto exchange and get involved in NFTs. Sure, there are NFT platforms like OpenSea and Rarible, but as soon as you need Metamask to get involved with anything that is just another barrier to entry, a hurdle that many people aren’t quite ready to overcome yet when it comes to things like non-custodial wallets and the world of DeFi as it can all be a bit tricky. Be sure to check out my article on the top places to mint NFTs where I actually cover FTX and Binance NFT marketplaces here.
FTX US has a native platform built in where users can mint, buy/sell or auction off Solana or Ethereum NFTs. Users can hold their NFTs in their FTX US NFT Gallery. Be aware that FTX US will review NFTs before being offered on the marketplace and has the right to reject them. FTX US charges a 2% fee to the seller on each sale or trade and charges $1 dollar to mint/list NFTs. If you want to learn more check out their FAQ on Solana NFTs here and Ethereum NFTs here.
Account Tiers and Limits
FTX US provide both individual accounts and corporate accounts for both US and non-US customers. Tier 1 individual accounts are limited to $10k per day and $300k lifetime on crypto and fiat deposits and withdrawals, while Tier 2 enjoys full access.
ACH deposit limits for KYC level 1 is $500 for any rolling 10 day period and a maximum of a $2,999 single deposit limit while KYC level 2 enjoys a $30k limit for a rolling 10 day period and a $20k single deposit limit.
For card deposits, users who reach a KYC 2 verification status can deposit $5k limit per week while new users will be limited to $2k per week subject to increase to the $5k based on previous successful deposit history. Check out the full breakdown on deposit limits here.
VIPs at FTX US have a number of benefits including:
- Lower fees: 04% taker fees for VIP1 and 0.025% taker fees for VIP2, 0.00% maker fees
- Access to an account manager
- Flexible API limits
- A direct line with a senior developer for API questions
- The ability to provide input to the products that FTX US launches
- FTX US customized VIP swag and access to VIP meet-ups
- *VIPs do not generate referral fees from their account, though they can still refer other traders and receive fees for that.
In order to qualify for VIP 1, users need to have a 30-day trading volume of at least $150 million, or a 30-day maker volume of at least $40 million so this program is definitely not for your average retail trader. In order to qualify for VIP2, users must constitute at least 5% of 30-day exchange volume.
FTX US does provide a support portal on their platform where users are able to submit tickets. It is also worth keeping an eye on their Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram for any ongoing issues or outages, all their contact info as well as social media links can be found here. FTX US also has a fantastic self-help knowledge base area that will likely be able to answer many of your questions or concerns and that can be found here.
If you do choose to try and contact them via Telegram or Facebook be very certain that you are speaking to a legitimate support team member as there are literally thousands of scammers on Telegram pretending to be support for many different crypto wallets and exchanges. Remember that no support team member will EVER ask you for things like 12-word recovery aka secret phrases or passwords so be wary of who you are speaking to and what information you provide them with as anyone with your password or recovery phrase will be able to access your account/funds. Check out Guy’s video on how to spot a scam as knowing this stuff could save you from losing your precious crypto!
Founders and Team
CEO and Founder- Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam was a trader at Jane Street Capitals International ETF desk where he traded a variety of ETFs, futures, currencies and equities. The multi-talented Bankman-Fried also went on to design their automated OTC trading system. This all makes sense that Bankman-Fried would be so multi-talented at such a high calibre to be designing OTC trading systems and founding Alameda Research as he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the most prestigious technical school in the world where the most gifted technological minds study.
CTO and Founder– Gary Wang
Gary was a software engineer at Google prior to founding FTX US and Alameda Research along with Bankman-Fried. With his time at Google, Gary built systems to aggregate prices across millions of flights, decreasing latency and memory usage by over 50%. Gary also graduated from MIT with a degree in mathematics with Computer Science making Gary one heck of a smart fella.
CSO– Nishad Singh
Nishad is the head of engineering at Alameda Research and FTX US. Prior to joining Alameda Research, Nishad was a software engineer and worked with Facebook’s Applied Machine Learning team. He graduated with the highest distinction from Berkeley with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, so another member of their team who knows a thing or two about computers and technology.
The FTX US platform and app really are intuitively designed and a pleasure to use for crypto traders or investors of any skill level and is able to meet the requirements of most crypto users. The fact that FTX US is regulated and legally operated within the United States and has such a strong team of founders and backers/supporters behind them makes FTX US one of the safest and most reliable exchanges available to crypto traders.
FTX US users enjoy lower fees than many of the competitors out there and is a great option for US-based users. The only real downside in my opinion is the coin support is not nearly as robust as one would find on the likes of Binance, though the platform is still quite new and new cryptocurrencies are being added frequently. With excellent features like FTX Pay and the FTX debit card, FTX US is really making strides in becoming the all in one platform for US-based crypto users who want to actively trade, or simply buy, hold and stake crypto, or even go as far as jumping “all in” on crypto and ditching the bank altogether.
Advanced Trading Features
Not Available in New York