Uphold, a leading digital money platform serving more than five million customers in more than 150 countries, today announces the regulatory approval for its acquisition of JNK Securities, a U.S. broker-dealer.
The approval by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) means that Uphold is one of, if not the first cryptocurrency firms to own a broker dealer approved to offer equities on an omnibus basis to retail investors in the United States.
Uphold plans to launch fractional equities in the U.S. later this year and to pioneer seamless trading between cryptocurrencies, U.S. stocks, precious metals, carbon credits, FX products and other assets, all through a single interface.
"Bitcoin to Tesla stock in one seamless user experience will soon become a reality for our U.S. customers," explained JP Thieriot, Uphold's CEO. "The move will introduce unprecedented speed and convenience for retail investors seeking to trade between traditional and emerging asset classes."
"We're also proud to open up equities trading to wider participation in the United States where almost half of U.S. households still don't have any exposure to the stock market. Our fractional equities offering will render even the most expensive equities accessible and affordable to ordinary people: a brokerage account can be opened in less than three minutes and there's no minimum investment: you can buy as little as $1 worth of Alphabet A (Google stock), for example, while a whole share trades around $2,000."
The acquisition will also provide Uphold with an effective vehicle to market its successful cryptocurrency investment fund, Digital Asset Alpha, to hedge funds, JNK Securities' traditional client base. Digital Asset Alpha takes non-directional bets on cryptocurrencies capturing arbitrage and yield opportunities in derivatives and DeFi.
Uphold plans to vastly expand its equities offering later this year, going from 50 US stocks to 3,500 stocks and options. Outside of the US, Uphold has been the only platform in the world enabling fractional US equities trading on a 24/7 basis.
"As an Internet of Money begins to take shape, this nature of convergence will ultimately deliver a sort of democratization to investing, bringing first-time access, convenience and cost efficiency to a financial market that remains largely structured around historical happenstance and, in many ways, is no longer suited to modern technological capabilities and customer interests," added Thieriot.
InnReg, a compliance consulting firm specializing in supporting innovative fintech companies, managed Uphold's regulatory approval process. Francesco Matteini, CEO of InnReg, added: "Regulatory clearance for a broker-dealer acquisition by a digital asset firm such as Uphold is a rare occurrence, and particularly significant in advancing progress towards unified trading experiences across asset classes."