Brett Harrison raised one child, six cats, and five dogs. In between that the president of FTX.US is doing everything he can to make crypto trading faster and easier, even if that sometimes means directly answering random questions on social media.
“I think we’re the only company in the world where you want to, basically, talk about it @SBF_FTX or @Brett_FTX…and like nine times out of 10, you’ll probably get a response—if not from us, from someone else at FTX,” Harrison said. The company’s growth can largely be attributed to this type of collaboration, he added. “We always ask, ‘Hey, guys, what do people want? What is working? What doesn’t work?’ And just getting answers Twitter or Telegram, I think that’s an edge for us. “
In a recent interview with luck, the two-time Harvard grad and Jane Street alum also discussed FTX’s acquisition spree and how the US adopting substantive crypto regulations could pave the way for laws in other countries. And he does it with an underrated sense of humor.
Recent FTX deals—what founder Sam Bankman-Fried won’t say personally earned 7.6% of Robinhood– includes a $680 million tie-up with BlockFi and buy Good Luck Games, which will be rolled by FTX Gaming. The company too Office has partnered in June it will buy clearing platform Embed to enhance its stock-trading offerings and “to provide a comprehensive trading application covering all asset classes,” Harrison said at the time.
The acquisition of derivatives platform LedgerX last year “is probably our most important acquisition,” Harrison said, adding that if FTX.US finally gets regulatory approval for margin trading ” we are in the best position of any US futures exchange to offer Bitcoin and Ether derivatives.And not only that, but futures in general, and options in general.
So what’s the next deal? Without being specific, Harrison said it could be something around licensing or user acquisition, or even retail. “I think the retail side is really the next kind of frontier for us,” he added.
For many investors, crypto remains their next frontier—even as many retail traders embrace trading online or in apps. “There are two events that could bring in very large numbers,” Harrison said luck. “One is the rise of crypto prices, sure… that’s also true for stocks. The second, I think, is if there is real clarity in the regulation of crypto exchanges.
Three senators last month introduces a bill to, in the words of Arkansas Republican John Boozman, “empower the CFTC with exclusive market jurisdiction in the area of digital commodities, which will bring more protections for consumers, market integrity, and transparency -ohan in the digital goods space.” But that’s it may take some time. And with those changes, the final legislation could be very different.
“But let’s say that passed, and now the CFTC has oversight of, you know, Bitcoin and Ether, and FTX.US is able to register as a digital asset exchange,” Harrison said. “Every institution, every hedge fund, every family office mutual fund that wants to get exposure directly to crypto can do so on an exchange that is clearly federally licensed. I think that makes a big difference. “
And not just in the US, he added. “There are many jurisdictions that are watching to see how the US operates, and very much want to create their regulation around it,” and most countries “will look, for example, at our registration process, which know what disclosures are required in order for a token to be considered listable for retail investors.”
So the US knowing this is not really that important. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler recognized the agency’s rules “need to evolve,” but meaningful progress remains to be seen.
In a purely hypothetical situation, a potential solution offered by Harrison could include an interagency agreement between the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, with each playing to their strengths.
“What I’m going to do is, I’m going to give CFTC market oversight for probably all of crypto, and the reason I’m going to do that is because they already regulate crypto custody for derivatives—they already have that team , they have that skill,” he explained. In the meantime, the SEC will largely help manage the registration and listing processes for cryptocurrencies, and it will provide more oversight of the market “for things like insider trading, and those kinds of things.. .
In other words, cats and dogs can find a way to get along where everyone benefits. There is actually some precedent for this.