The company says that residents of California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana and New Hampshire can can now buy or sell bitcoin and ether using the new Robinhood Crypto platform. The service will also allow investors to track 14 other cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin cash, litecoin, XRP, ethereum classic, zcash, monero, bitcoin gold and dogecoin.
The app doesn't charge a commission compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. Also, Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set up alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple.
“We’re planning to operate this business on a break-even basis and we don’t plan to profit from it for the foreseeable future” says Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev. “The value of Robinhood Crypto is in growing our customer base and better serving our existing customers.”
By essentially using crypto trading as a loss leader instead of its primary business like Coinbase and other apps, Robinhood could substantially expand beyond the 4 million users it already has. Simplifying trading and tracking could bolster Bitcoin and Ethereum. And by combining it with traditional stock, ETF, and option trading in a single app, Robinhood could further legitimize the cryptocurrency craze. The two trading worlds could cross-pollinate, dragging even more people into the crypto scene.
Robinhood made this announcement during their release:
"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."
How does it work?
Here’s how Robinhood Crypto works. You can instantly transfer up to $1000 from your connected bank account (more if you have a Gold membership), with additional funds coming over slower ACH transfer. For smaller traders, that could eliminate the annoying delays on other platforms that can make you miss a low price you want to buy up. The whole Crypto section of Robinhood is styled with an 80s Tron design to denote the 24-hour trading window, compared to its day and night themes for when traditional stock markets are open or closed.
When you place a buy or sell order, Robinhood gives you an estimated price, connects to a slew of trading venues, exchanges, and market centers to find the lowest price, and uses its economies of scale to improve to score better prices over time. To counter market volatility, Robinhood puts a “collar” around your trade so if it can’t execute it at close to the estimated price, it waits for the price to return or lets you know.
And in case the price of a coin skyrockets or plummets, you can place limit orders to set a price where you automatically buy or sell. The full list of coins you can track is Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, Monero, Dash, Stellar, Qtum, Bitcoin Gold, OmiseGo, NEO, Lisk, and Dogecoin.
In addition to Robinhood Crypto, the company announced the launch of Robinhood Feed, a social media-type platform which will enable investors to discuss different cryptocurrencies, news surrounding the space and the markets in real-time.
The Feed platform is currently only available to a limited number of people, according to the announcement.