Robinhood Pledges Crypto Wallets and ‘More Coins’—but Won’t Say When
Robinhood’s plans for crypto include listing more assets, providing “interest and rewards” to users, and adding a wallet that will let users move tokens on and off the platform. The company shared those details during a Wednesday afternoon earnings call, but it offered few specifics about when such products might appear.
“I know there’s been a ton of enthusiasm from the crypto community and the Dogecoin community in particular in getting access to wallets,” assured Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev, who added the company was “excited to roll this out to customers.”
Tenev, who has promised a wallet in the past, added that integrating one was “tricky to do at scale” and that the company wants to make the wallet as “bulletproof” as possible when it comes to security.
His comments come at a time when the majority of new Robinhood customers’ purchases are coming in the form of crypto, and when revenue from Dogecoin in particular is making up a hefty portion of the company’s bottom line.
Currently, the company limits customers’ crypto activities to buying and selling the assets on the Robinhood app—an arrangement that reflects only a small fraction of the activities possible within the broader crypto world. Adding features such as the ability to send crypto off the platform or earn interest on crypto holdings would put Robinhood in better position to compete with Coinbase, a company that has become one of its primary rivals.
In an apparent swipe at Coinbase, Tenev said he was proud of Robinhood’s pricing compared to competitors that oblige users to pay “multi-percent” fees and commissions. Robinhood doesn’t charge fees but does make money by selling crypto for higher rates than the price it pays to obtain the crypto.
On several occasions, Tenev referred to Robinhood’s desire to list “more coins.” Right now, the app only offers seven cryptocurrencies—a far cry from the dozens or hundreds offered on pure crypto exchanges.
Robinhood isn’t the only company from the world of traditional finance looking to bulk up its crypto offerings—payment giant PayPal is likewise working on a crypto wallet and exploring various blockchain technologies.
In another sign that crypto is taking on a greater role in Robinhood’s thinking, Tenev at one point used the phrase “diamond-handed” to describe customers who bought stock in companies prior to their going public. “Diamond-handed” is a neologism that originated in crypto circles, and refers to investors who don’t sell in choppy market conditions.
18 August 2021 23:03