More digital asset firms want to become broker-dealers: FINRA head

Quick Take

  • There is a rise in firms looking to trade in digital asset securities. 

More digital asset firms are looking to register to buy and sell securities.

That is according to Robert Cook, the president and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the self-regulatory organization that registers broker-dealers and investment advisors in the U.S. 

"We have a couple dozen vendors now whose business model is entirely digital asset securities. And we have at least that many — actually more than that — in the pipeline," Cook told a conference in Washington, D.C. 

Existing FINRA registrants include brokerage affiliates of major crypto exchanges like Coinbase, FTX and Gemini, as well as a fleet of private investment advisors focusing on digital asset securities. 

Of that pipeline, Cook cautioned that it was on ongoing process, and that not all applications would make it to registration. 

As an industry self-regulatory organization, FINRA self-polices but does not set policy, like the Securities and Exchange Commission. The question of which digital assets are securities and which are commodities is one of the most pressing issues among U.S. markets regulators, as well as firms acting as cryptocurrency intermediaries. 

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