Robinhood Markets Inc.’s commission-free "Robinhood Crypto" Bitcoin and Ethereum trading platform is now live for trading at https://crypto.robinhood.com. The tagline "All your investments, commission-free, on one platform," highlights the fact that Robinhood Crypto allows customers to explore traditional investment products like stocks alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Only residents of California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire can legally trade on the smart-phone-only Robinhood Crypto platform. Robinhood says that it will onboard customers from other states at a rate at which it can support them, and that by mid-2018 it will be available in the U.S. nationwide. There are 1.5 million hopeful participants in other states on Robinhood Crypto’s growing waitlist.
Robinhood said in a statement, touting the success of its existing stock trading platform as an indicator of where it will go with its crypto platform, "Over the past few weeks, we’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm towards Robinhood Crypto and are excited to contribute to the cryptocurrency community in a meaningful way. Together, we reached four million users and well over $100 billion in transaction volume on our brokerage platform, leading to over $1 billion in commissions saved in equity trades. With the release of Robinhood Crypto, we’re continuing our mission of making the financial system work for everyone, not just the wealthy. With today’s trading launch, we’re also announcing Robinhood Feed – a brand new way to discuss cryptocurrencies, news, and market swings, in real-time with other investors on Robinhood."
Electronic trading firms like Robinhood pay effectively nothing to execute trades. They make money from interest earned on customers' cash balances and margin lending. But Robinhood is further able to float its free platform profitably by using cost saving tactics like not having offices, maintaining only a small support staff, and not advertising.
The launch of Robinhood Crypto will pressure Coinbase to lower fees. Robinhood also brings a sense of legitimacy to cryptocurrency trading since it is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Robinhood Crypto may catch up or even overtake Coinbase, though an unknown percentage of traders will still prefer Coinbase where the fees are upfront and known vs. buried and hidden as in the case of Robinhood.
By: BGN Editorial Staff