Wednesday announced plans to launch a new wallet for cryptocurrencies like , and . People interested in beta testing the new feature can sign up soon, though the official release won’t come until 2022.
Founded in 2013, Robinhood’s financial app, which makes it easy and free to buy and sell stocks, also offers cash management accounts — and, as of 2019, supports some cryptocurrency trading. The company has been state regulators and academics for and for its role in earlier this year., attracting the scrutiny of
Still, by offering a cryptocurrency wallet, the company is giving its customers more of what they want: Nearly 60% of the app’s users bought or sold cryptocurrency during the previous quarter, according to Robinhood. And the focus of investing momentum within Robinhood’s user base continues to shift: For the first time, the company disclosed, new users’ first purchases more often involve cryptocurrency than equities.
“Our customers have been asking for the ability to send and receive crypto on Robinhood, and that’s exactly what we’re building,” said Christine Brown, Robinhood’s chief operating officer.
CNET sat down with Brown to discuss the future of cryptocurrency trading, the company’s new wallet and how it decides on which coins to support. Here’s what we learned.
Why is Robinhood building an integrated crypto wallet?
“When you look at Robinhood’s customers, about half are first-time investors,” Brown said in an interview with CNET. “In crypto especially, there’s this generational shift going on in how users invest. That’s something we’ve seen play out over the last six months. I think crypto is a central part of that. So building features that are accessible and available and make the market and ecosystem of cryptocurrency easier to approach for the first time is really aligned with our mission to democratize finance for all.”
Will the wallet be free?
Robinhood wants to make it cheap and easy for its users to get into the crypto markets, Brown says, so its wallet will be free to use — similar to how wallets work on other exchanges like Coinbase. Robinhood users will still be on the hook for any transaction fees, however.
“We have not added fees to the [wallet] product. We will be passing on the transfer fees that exist when you move assets on-chain. But there’s no additional Robinhood fee,” Brown said.