TradeStation's James Putra Talks Ethereum, Rise Of Institutional Investment In Cryptocurrency: What Does It All Mean?

Interest in Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH) has increased thanks to the rise of NFTs and the lower price compared to Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC), TradeStation’s James Putra told Benzinga.

Growing Interest: After a January that was “out of this world,” TradeStation is still seeing continued growth and interest in the cryptocurrency space, Putra said during a panel at the 2021 Benzinga Crypto Festival.

“What’s been surprising for us has been the adoption of Ethereum,” Putra said.

Ethereum has recently been around two-thirds of TradeStation’s trading volume, a surprise after months of Bitcoin representing around 80% of the trading volume.

The growth of Ethereum trading is similar to something Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN) shared in its second-quarter earnings report.

Putra credits the rise of non-fungible tokens and the fact that people “generally like lower-priced assets.”

“Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of exciting things happening with Ethereum.”

TradeStation has six assets listed now with plans to add more soon. Putra said 70% of all crypto volume happens in Bitcoin and Ethereum, which gives them access to a huge amount of customers.

“Our customers definitely want other assets,” Putra said, which is something the company will fix soon.

Want to learn more about how cryptocurrency is going to the moon? Check into Benzinga’s Crypto Festival, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

Is There Institutional Interest?: Moderator Scott Melker highlighted the strong interest of big names like MicroStrategy Incorporated (NASDAQ:MSTR) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) investing in Bitcoin.

Putra told viewers that institutional interest has risen and could be an area to watch in the third quarter.

“The institutional side has been surprising,” Putra said.

TradeStation doesn’t have to convince companies to add cryptocurrency to their balance sheet or chase down leads anymore, according to Putra. Now TradeStation is able to show customers what it can offer them instead.

Putra cited a conference hosted by MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor that showcased how many more companies are starting to put crypto on their balance sheets.

“I think that Saylor said it will take six months for companies,” Putra said, adding this is something TradeStation is anticipating in the third quarter.

Related Link: Benzinga Announces Investment In Crypto As Part Of Corporate Treasury Strategy 

NFTs/Metaverse: The rise of NFTs is an area TradeStation is looking at. Putra mentioned some successful projects include ones from Gary Vee and Bored Ape Yacht Club.

TradeStation has been in talks with companies about ways they can tokenize themselves and offer rewards.

One customer is thinking of getting rid of its website — they think it is a thing of the past — and wants to go to the metaverse and use that as a place to bring in customers and retain talent.

Trading Strategies: Putra said that one way to invest in Bitcoin is to own the cryptocurrency and sell the futures, which typically sell at a premium.

“It’s close to a risk-free trade,” Putra said, adding that this trade helps protect your margin. “Using this trade, you’re able to keep your premium as the strikes come in.”

Putra said he thinks Bitcoin will go higher by the end of the year but stopped short of offering a price prediction.