FTX is a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange backed by Alameda Research, a quantitative trading firm and crypto liquidity provider.
The exchange launched in April 2019 and offered the usual spot trading, inverse swaps and futures contracts that can be found at other major platforms. By early 2020, the exchange launched its daily and weekly binary BTC options markets.
FTT/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView
FTT is the exchange’s native token and it’s issued on the Ethereum blockchain. FTT stakers are granted a trading fee discount based on a tiered system and other benefits include bonus votes in their polls and increased airdrop rewards.
The first airdrop took place in August 2020 when 500 million Serum (SRM) tokens were distributed to FTT holders. To differentiate itself from competitors, the users’ collateral is shared in one universal stablecoin wallet.
This means traders can reduce their margin requirements drastically. Numerous leveraged tokens mimicking leveraged ETF stocks have also been listed, including 3x Long Bitcoin and 3x Short Litecoin.
Leveraged tokens are derived from the exchange’s perpetual swap contracts and operate as tradeable ERC-20 tokens that can be withdrawn and traded. These innovative products have made the FTX a popular exchange among investors, as reflected by its rising futures contracts open interest.
Global markets aggregate open interest. Source: coinalyze.net
As shown above, the figure grew by 340% over the past six months, surpassing the $2 billion mark to vastly outperform more established exchanges.
In November 2020, the exchange ventured into tokenized equity trading, albeit not available for its U.S. citizens. Its partner CM-Equity custody the tokens redeemable for the underlying stocks. Interestingly, it’s allowed its users to buy less than one share, which is particularly useful for high-priced stocks like Amazon ($AMZN) and Google ($GOOG).
In December, FTX continued to innovate by launching pre-IPO futures contracts for AirBNB and Coinbase. These contracts allow traders to speculate on what price those companies will list on a stock exchange. The exchange also offers trading for thematic products, including a basket of cannabis-related listed stocks.
By creating multiple markets with enough liquidity provided by its market-making structure, the exchange was able to gather attention from a new client base. More recently, a Wall Street Bets index was launched, including GameStop ($GME), Dogecoin (DOGE), and iShares Silver Trust ($SLV).
Backed by these popular offerings, FTX Token (FTT) price has doubled since the beginning of 2021.
FTX Token (FTT) token price at Binance. Source: TradingView
To further incentivize holding the token, FTX repurchases and burns 33% of all fees generated from the exchange and 10% of its insurance fund net additions. This process will continue until half of the initial 350 million supply are destroyed.
While this may appear like a deflationary schedule, there are 31.25 million tokens allocated to the team, representing at least 17.8% of the targeted 175 million circulating supply. Regardless, considering the current $11.70 token price, its market capitalization after the burn process is completed surpasses $2 billion.
This number represents a 45% discount to Binance Coin’s (BNB) projected 2031 market capitalization, according to data from Messari. This is also roughly in line with the exchanges’ aggregate open interest $4.26 billion to $2.0 billion difference .
Interestingly, Binance has an undisclosed investment in FTX, and this may be creating fewer incentives for direct competition.
Currently, it seems that the market is pricing both tokens at the same valuation. Binance appears to be expanding its ecosystem via its Binance Smart Chain decentralized exchange, their blockchain projects incubator and a successful token launchpad platform.
FTX, on the other hand, is focused on being the market-leader of derivatives products innovation.
Currently all of these projects are producing value for token holders and with the burn schedule and rising popularity among derivatives exchanges it’s possible that FTT will continue to see further price appreciation.
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