Robinhood trading app introduces cryptocurrency

Users of Robinhood, the commission-free investing app, will soon be able to invest in cryptocurrencies alongside more...

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 5:35 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 5:35 PM

Users of Robinhood, the commission-free investing app, will soon be able to invest in cryptocurrencies alongside more traditional investment offerings, the company announced Thursday.

Crypto trading will initially include only bitcoin and ethereum, with more coins offered later. Beginning in February, residents in five states will be the first to be able buy and sell -- California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana and New Hampshire -- with other states following in waves until trading is available nationwide.

Starting Thursday, all users can track market data for 16 coins (including litecoin and ripple), read crypto news, and create price alerts on Robinhood.

"It is fairly obvious that people care about [cryptocurrency]," says Baiju Bhatt, co-founder and co-CEO of Robinhood. "We want to be there and help shape the way the industry goes with a better platform at a better price."

Related: Bitcoin mania: What the big names of finance are saying

Cryptos can be even riskier than other investments because of extreme volatility and security risks associated with an asset in its relative infancy. But that hasn't stopped a wave of investors looking to jump in.

Bitcoin has been the word on everyone's lips for the past few months, as the cryptocurrency has hit record highs. It has more than doubled since October and is now trading around $11,000, though down from its high just shy of $20,000 in December.

Bitcoin is not new to Bhatt and Robinhood co-founder and co-CEO Vlad Tenev, though. They have been looking at bitcoin and cryptos for a long time, even as far back as 2010 when they were doing their own crypto mining on personal computers.

"The thing we're seeing now, over the past year is that crypto and bitcoin are showing resiliency," says Bhatt. "So many times people have been quick to count it out. It has gone up and gone down. Now that resiliency is something that has some real staying power."

There's growing demand -- particularly among young people -- to get in on the action.

A recent study showed that if given $5,000, 12% of Millennials would put the money into cryptocurrency over any other type of investment, according to Swell Investing. That's compared with just 3% of those aged 45-54 and 55-64. Men were more interested than women in putting their money in crypto, with 14% of Millennial men saying they would opt for that over any other investment, compared with 9% of women.

Related: Bitcoin is too hot for criminals. They're using monero instead

For a company that has pegged itself as democratizing capitalism and making high-end financial products available to everyone, offering crypto is a natural fit with Robinhood's mission, Bhatt says.

"Crypto-currencies have the potential to change how money around the world works from the ground up," he says. "It is a shift from institutions back to the people and we want to be central in creating that change."

And Robinhood is betting their entrance into the space will make investors more comfortable at the table.

Currently, most people buy cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum at digital exchanges like Coinbase.

Robinhood will offer easy access to funds, says Bhatt. It will make bank transfers up to $1,000 instantly available to trade crypto-currencies. Any additional funds transferred will land in your account via the normal ACH transfer system.

"The products out there now for trading crypto feel a lot more like Friendster," says Bhatt, referencing an early social network before Facebook. "It isn't clear which are going to emerge as the best and the way people invest in crypto today will not be the way they do in the future, but we aim to be a part of the future."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 539829

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798271529
Mobile41261809
Madison35132506
Tuscaloosa25915455
Shelby25294249
Montgomery24705593
Baldwin21392310
Lee15987172
Calhoun14569319
Morgan14422280
Etowah13918353
Marshall12275225
Houston10641282
Elmore10147206
Limestone10065151
St. Clair9946245
Cullman9761194
Lauderdale9457243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8339176
Walker7260278
Autauga7001108
Jackson6836112
Blount6771139
Colbert6320135
Coffee5578118
Dale4876113
Russell445138
Chilton4369113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394777
Chambers3590123
Dallas3568153
Clarke351461
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302698
Winston275773
Bibb264564
Geneva254078
Marengo249665
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale223978
Butler219069
Fayette212662
Henry189643
Cherokee184645
Randolph182442
Monroe178141
Washington167739
Macon161150
Clay157157
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143236
Lowndes140553
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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