Popular online brokerage platform, Robinhood, favored by millennials interested in trading stocks, ETFs and options, has announced support for 24/7 commission-free cryptocurrency trading.
Commenting on what is being considered a major development for the crypto market, co-founder and co-CEO Baiju Bhatt told Forbes:
“Now in Robinhood, for the first time, consumers will be able to invest in and trade stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrencies all in one place. You don’t need to have different apps, or be checking stocks on Robinhood and then logging into some exchange in Asia to trade your cryptocurrencies. It’s all consolidated.”
The development is being lauded by the crypto community for numerous reasons. By offering zero-commissions, Robinhood has the potential to emerge as direct competition for Coinbase; the latter charges between 1.5% to 4% per transaction, and has recently been facing criticism for patchy service and poor technical and customer support.
Additionally, since Robinhood already has an existing user base of around 3 million, it is perfectly poised to give the crypto market a fresh push and open the gates for new money to enter the space.
Expected to become officially available in February, for residents of California and a handful of other states in the U.S., Robinhood will begin with Bitcoin and Ether trading, while users will be able to track prices for 14 other cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple, Ethereum Classic, Monero, OmiseGo, Lisk, Dogecoin, Stellar, Dash, Qtum, Bitcoin Gold and Zcash.
Speaking about the initial coin selection, co-founder Vladimir Tenev stated:
“We’re extremely selective about the cryptos we’re making available on the platform. We’re introducing those first because these are the most mature coins that people are trading these days. Multiple times people have declared them dead and they’ve come back stronger than ever.”
Since Robinhood will not be charging any fees for crypto transactions, there won’t be any immediate profits from the venture. However, the team is confident that offering cryptocurrencies will help grow their customer base and improve the experience for existing customers, leading to long-term benefits for Robinhood.
Meanwhile, the kind of volume Robinhood generates, and whether it actually manages to threaten Coinbase’s monopoly, will only become clear in the coming months.