A blockchain startup backed by Uber co-founders and former executives has become the latest platform to sign onto the cryptocurrency craze. Voyager, a new and licensed crypto asset brokerage in the US, announced on Wednesday that its users would be able to trade 15 cryptocurrencies.
Voyager is currently in beta testing phase and plans to launch its no-commission mobile trading app in Q4 2018.
The company has opened the pre-launch registration to customers in select states including California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire and Montana. Most importantly, they will be able to purchase cryptocurrencies without incurring commission charges in a similar pattern to what stock trading app Robinhood currently offers. Voyager will also be going up against established players like Coinbase’s GDAX exchange.
Voyager’s app will trawl through multiple cryptocurrency exchanges and trading venues to find the best buy and sell price or that is closest to the price that had been offered to the user.
Cryptocurrencies are normally bought and sold on exchanges where customers trade them for fiat currencies or other cryptocurrencies. Clients pay fees to exchanges, and prices vary significantly between platforms.
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Voyager is headed by Stephen Ehrlich, the former CEO and founder of retail brokerage Lightspeed Financial who also previously ran the professional trading arm of online stock broker E*Trade. The startup’s other co-founders include Philip Eytan, an early Uber investor, and Oscar Salazar, the former chief technology officer of the ride-hailing company.
More competition is coming
The competitive landscape for cryptocurrencies in the US is heating up. Last month, Coinbase announced that it is moving forward with a plan to acquire licensure that would allow the company to begin offering blockchain-based securities and participate in the ICO market. The company has also acquired the broker-dealer Keystone Capital Corp., based in California.
Also in May, Robinhood raised its latest round of funding, bringing in $363 million at a $5.6 billion valuation.
The Silicon Valley company said that it would use the funds to increase hiring and develop new products around its stock trading app, which allows users in states where Robinhood has obtained regulatory approval to acquire digital currency with no minimum purchase amount.
Stephen Ehrlich, Co-Founder and CEO of Voyager, commented: “Our multi-exchange platform will help aggregate and unify a largely fragmented ecosystem, offering retail investors fast execution and better pricing. Additionally, we have developed and adopted best-in-class security practices in line with banking, brokerage and healthcare standards offering investors a safe and secure environment to invest in this new asset class.”