World’s third largest crypto exchange opens in The Bahamas; eyes expansion

The country’s first company registered with the Securities Commission of The Bahamas (SCB) as a digital asset exchange, FTX Digital Markets, officially opened its office yesterday, another milestone for a company set to do just under $1 billion in revenue this year, its founder Sam Bankman-Fried, told Guardian Business yesterday.

The Bahamas’ Digital Asset Registered Exchanges legislation, also known as the DARE Act, has attracted the world’s third largest, according to Bankman-Fried, digital assets exchange provider. indeed ranks FTX third with a trading volume at $4.3 billion.

Bankman-Fried explained that he chose to bring FTX to The Bahamas because of the country’s strong regulatory framework in the digital assets space.

“We’ve been really impressed by the regulators and by the government here,” said Bankman-Fried.

“They passed the DARE Act and it provided one of the first comprehensive regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies in the world and they’ve been a pleasure to work with.

“They’ve been constructive. They’ve been thorough. They have been fast, and they’ve given helpful feedback… really pleasant and forward-thinking.

“It’s all we’ve asked for in a regulatory partner. We’re really excited to be the first recipient of a digital asset exchange registration with the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, and this is also just a place that a number of our employees have just enjoyed being.”

He explained that FTX is a global cryptocurrency exchange founded in spring 2019, that has built out a sophisticated suite of trading and investing tools for users on its platform.

According to Bankman-Fried, FTX is the fastest growing exchange in the cryptocurrency industry.

He said the company has hired five to 10 Bahamians and expects to hire many more as the company grows.

He revealed that he and his executives are expected to review plans for a campus to be built some time in the near future and for more of FTX’s employees to come to The Bahamas to continue building the business.

Bankman-Fried said the establishment of cryptocurrency in The Bahamas could help re-establish The Bahamas’ financial services industry on the global stage while also improving the way Bahamians manage money locally.

“One really exciting thing about the way cryptocurrency exchanges function is, in addition to offering a totally new asset class to users, they’re also a full stacked product,” he said.

“And so, one of the really interesting things about it is that it’s not just the matching engine and liquidity as you often see in exchanges, but it’s also the website; the mobile app; the API (application program interface); the compliance; the AML (Anti-money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing); the KYC…

“So, it brings the whole process from the back-end liquidity providers to the front-end payment systems and I think this is something we’d be really excited to build out – the industry in The Bahamas – also to work with payment providers on enabling cryptocurrency rails.”

The company is big on giving back to the community, and Bankman-Fried said FTX has already started with back-to-school giveaways and donating to anti-poverty institutions.

The FTX office is also dotted with tens of thousands worth of original art by local artists.

According to a press statement from the company, Ryan Salame, former head of OTC at Alameda Research will lead the local team as chief executive officer of FTX Digital Markets.

Salame said in the statement: “I’m excited to plant the flag for FTX in The Bahamas. The relationship we have fostered with local regulators culminating with us being authorized under the framework offered through the DARE Act, gives me confidence that we’ll be able to work closely with regulators to make sure our offerings are compliant in multiple jurisdictions.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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