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Robinhood Vying for Largest Crypto Platform by End of 2018

Robinhood Vying for Largest Crypto Platform by End of 2018 101
Source: iStock/Grafissimo

Stock trading app Robinhood has beaten their e-trade rivals when it comes to users, doubling the number of accounts in the past year. They now have 4 million brokerage accounts on their platform, and yesterday they announced a USD 363 million funding round, valuing the company at USD 5.6 billion — quadruple from about a year ago.

The firm said that they are waiting to receive the necessary licenses in order to be able to expand their cryptocurrency trading service, currently available in 10 US states, to the rest of the country. Robinhood's co-founder and co-CEO Baiju Bhatt told Fortune, “We expect by the end of the year to be either the largest or one of the largest crypto platforms out there.”

For cryptocurrency trading, Robinhood has no investment minimums or maximums and no withdrawal limits, holding most of its crypto offline, in cold storage, as an added security layer. However, they currently only offer trading of Bitcoin and Ethereum, so their dreams of overtaking the likes of Binance, a largest crypto exchange, may have to wait for them to start offering more versatility.

Bhatt believes Robinhood can “unquestionably” achieve its goal to become the leader in cryptocurrency trading, even though reports of Wall Street institutions, notably an investment bank Goldman Sachs and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange), entering the Bitcoin trading market. What they do have to their advantage is being a registered broker-dealer with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and they said they would be “more than happy” to meet any new regulations.

Their lower fees than usual are part of what makes them attractive, Bhatt explains: “I think we’re pretty relentlessly focused on our mission of making the markets and the financial services system more accessible to the broader population, and that’s a pretty good North star for us.”

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