STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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 6:35 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 6:35 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."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 451227

Reported Deaths: 33090
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens718187245
Kings673917319
Bronx526664942
Nassau463252201
Suffolk461762011
Westchester378661454
New York331463173
Richmond157861085
Rockland14891675
Orange11835498
Erie11082689
Monroe5925289
Dutchess5084153
Onondaga4253205
Albany3037134
Oneida2378123
Ulster224495
Niagara1733101
Putnam158363
Sullivan157348
Broome147669
Schenectady138348
Saratoga100617
Rensselaer90142
Columbia58237
Chautauqua5479
Madison48917
Ontario46535
Oswego4643
Tompkins3990
Warren36333
Steuben36042
Chemung3493
Fulton33224
Otsego3325
Orleans32554
Herkimer32210
Greene32118
St. Lawrence3194
Genesee3175
Wayne3115
Washington28814
Cattaraugus2556
Chenango2487
Montgomery2294
Tioga22525
Cayuga2022
Livingston2028
Jefferson1640
Cortland1620
Essex1610
Clinton1555
Wyoming1325
Delaware1314
Seneca1053
Allegany991
Schoharie830
Franklin650
Yates627
Lewis500
Schuyler390
Hamilton150
Unassigned016
Utica
Overcast
60° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 60°
Oneonta
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 64°
Herkimer
Overcast
60° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 60°
Thendara
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 62°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left