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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: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 789054

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1115991765
Mobile708511234
Madison49865633
Shelby36274315
Baldwin36242495
Tuscaloosa33931548
Montgomery33190678
Lee22680220
Calhoun21211410
Morgan19816335
Etowah19300462
Marshall17680274
Houston16823386
St. Clair15442305
Cullman14602258
Limestone14581188
Elmore14480264
Lauderdale13520281
Talladega12958236
DeKalb12199237
Walker10588330
Blount9720157
Autauga9667137
Jackson9385158
Coffee8882175
Dale8609173
Colbert8534184
Tallapoosa6673181
Escambia6591121
Covington6452167
Chilton6385144
Russell607255
Franklin5795101
Chambers5416134
Marion4800120
Dallas4705189
Clarke463279
Pike462397
Geneva4413117
Winston425895
Lawrence4117108
Bibb409381
Barbour347270
Marengo326285
Monroe320053
Butler318290
Randolph305956
Pickens305274
Henry301858
Hale292685
Cherokee289855
Fayette279673
Washington245448
Crenshaw238470
Cleburne235851
Clay228565
Macon220158
Lamar197743
Conecuh182046
Lowndes170758
Coosa170235
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136537
Sumter124536
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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