Vlad Tenev, CEO and co-founder of Robinhood Markets, Inc., appears on screen during his company’s IPO on the Nasdaq Market website in Times Square, New York, USA, July 29, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Robinhood passes on the keys to the crypts to some of its customers.

The trading and investment company announced Tuesday that it will allow users to keep and store their own cryptocurrencies and NFT in a separate standalone app. This is the latest step in the digital asset space for Robinhood as it achieves growth beyond stock trading. Since the IPO, the company’s shares have fallen by more than 70%.

The new app will compete with Coinbase and startups like MetaMask, Robinhood. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong named his company’s product the most downloadable mobile self-service wallet in the United States on twitter on monday.

The app will allow users to store NFT and connect to NFT marketplaces and “decentralized” stock exchanges. It will also allow users to monetize on other platforms and gain access to the “diversity” of crypto-assets on other exchanges, the company said.

Who holds or “saves” someone’s cryptocurrency has become a contentious issue in the industry, fueling the viral phrase “not your keys, not your coins”. Some fear that storing assets on the stock exchange makes them more vulnerable to hacking or censorship.

Robinhood, which topped last year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list, made a name for itself by offering to trade funds without a commission. Its value and user base grew during the pandemic when it opened a new generation of traders. Robinhood also became the center of a saga about meme stocks following a trade restriction on GameStop, a very abbreviated name that Reddit traders bought in defiance of Wall Street short sellers.

The trade business has slowed significantly since last year. For the three months ending March 31, Robinhood’s revenue was down 43% from last year. Since its public debut in August, shares have fallen more than 70% and more than 85% below all time.

In an effort to drive revenue and user growth, Robinhood adds more cryptocurrency products and features. In late March Robinhood also added extended hours of stock trading. Earlier in April, Robinhood launched an earlier version of crypto-wallets for customers, which will still be available in the main Robinhood app.

“We believe that the crypt is more than just an asset class,” co-founder and CEO of Robinhood Vlad Tenev said in a press release. “Offering the same low cost and great design that people expected from Robinhood, our web3 wallet will make it easier for everyone to keep their own keys and experience all the opportunities that an open financial system offers.”

Robinhood said the new wallet will first appear with a waiting list and will be available internationally.

The new app, in particular, does not charge a network fee, although in some cases the fee for Ethereum and Bitcoin is $ 70. A Robinhood spokesman said the crypto product would rely on third-party liquidity providers to “compete” for behind-the-scenes customer transactions to offset those network fees.

Robinhood derives most of its revenue from transaction fees in its core trading business through a brokerage practice called pay-per-order payment.

— Jesse Pound from CNBC participated in the report.

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