Stock Trading App Robinhood Launches Zero-Fee Cryptocurrency Trading In 5 U.S. States

  • Popularstock trading app Robinhood launched bitcoin and ethereum trading, without any fees.
  • The company also announced a social media-like platform dubbed Robinhood Feed.
  • This puts Robinhood in direct competition with industry giant Coinbase and Square's Cash app.

Popular mobile stock trading app Robinhood has formally launched its new Robinhood Crypto service, that now allows customers in five U.S. states to buy bitcoin and ethereum without paying any fees.

According to an announcement, residents of California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Missouri and Montana can now trade the top two cryptocurrencies using the app. Those who aren’t yet able to trade will be able to track those and 14 other cryptocurrencies, including Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Monero, NEO, and Dogecoin.

Robinhood’s has promoted the service with zero fee trading and is targeting millennials with their ‘Don’t Sleep’ advertisement. Robinhood announced its plans  and hopes to bring cryptocurrencies to a whole new audience. Robinhood’s users are investors who trade traditional products such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and stocks.

Merely four days after announcing Robinhood Crypto, the platform saw over 1 million people register to use it. This helped Robinhood reach 4 million users, up from the 3 million it had in November. Its users have already transacted over $100 billion, and saved $1 billion in commission fees.

By offering zero commission trading, the app makes stocks, ETFs, and now cryptocurrencies more accessible. The announcement reads:

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm towards Robinhood Crypto and are excited to contribute to the cryptocurrency community in a meaningful way. (…) With the release of Robinhood Crypto, we’re continuing our mission of making the financial system work for everyone, not just the wealthy.”

Robinhood Crypto

Along with Robinhood Crypto, the company also announced the launch of a new social media-like platform dubbed Robinhood Feed. This new platform allows investors to discuss different cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency-related news, and what’s going on in the markets in real-time. Robinhood Feed, according to the company’s announcement, is only available to a limited number of users for now.

The move makes Robinhood one of the major financial apps allowing users to easily buy and sell cryptocurrencies, as it is now competing with industry giant Coinbase, which reached over $1 billion in revenue last year, and with Square’s Cash app, which also recently launched commission-free bitcoin trading to US customers.

CZ Explains How Binance Dealt With Aftermath of $40 Million Theft

On Sunday (May 19), Changpeng Zhao (aka "CZ"), the Co-Founder and CEO of digital asset exchange Binance, told the crypto community what he and his team had been up to since the May 7 security breach that resulted in a theft of over 7,000 BTC from their Bitcoin hot wallet. 

What Happened on May 7?

According to CZ, the hackers involved in the security breach somehow managed to get control over a number of user accounts and structured large withdrawals from these accounts in such a way thay managed not to be detected/noticed by Binance's "pre-withdrawal risk management checks." Their "post-withdrawal risk monitoring system" only noticed something was wrong after the hackers had moved the stolen BTC off of the exchange via a single transaction, at which time it immediately suspended all "subsequent withdrawals." 

At first, the Binance team was not exactly sure what had happened, and so they decided that the safest course of action was for CZ to send out a tweet to say that the "withdrawal servers" were in "unscheduled maintenance mode" while the team was investigating the incident. 

Communication With the Crypto Community

Once the team had confirmed that the exchange had been hacked, information about the security incident was broadcast to the outside world via all of Binance's communication channels (such as Telegram, Twitter, and Medium). 

Since the team could not be sure which user accounts the hackers had access to, it was decided that it would be too risky to allow further withdrawals to be made until the team had the chance to make "significant changes" to the platform (to make it more secure). Binance's announcement on May 8 estimated that the exchange needed to do "a thorough security review" and estimated that this would take about "ONE WEEK," and that during this period, "deposits and withdrawals" would need to "REMAIN SUSPENDED."

By being fully transparent in their communication with Binance users, they were able to receive "tremendous support" from them.

CZ's Periscope AMA Session on May 8

Seeing CZ live put much of the Binance community "at ease." Unfortunately, because CZ had been up all night, he was not in an ideal mental state when he did the AMA. Just before the AMA, his team told him that a Bitcoin Core developer had suggested that it would be technically possible to roll back the single Bitcoin transaction carried out by the hackers by "hugely incentivizing the miners." CZ made the unfortunate mistake of mentioning this "reorg" idea (which he now realizes is a "taboo topic") during the AMA, for which he took a heavy beating (especially from hardcore Bitcoin maximalists) on Twitter (and elsewhere). 

CZ's Mental State Right After Being Told About the Bitcoin Theft

Although he was in a "F***, F***, F***” state" for around 10 seconds, a few moments later, he "began to come to terms with it," and a quick mental calculation told him that the theft of around 7000 BTC (equivalent of around $40 million at the time) could be fully covered by their SAFU fund. Meanwhile, his team had already gone into "War Mode", and their professionalism and support cheered up CZ. 

Support From the Crypto Community

Binance received support from many sources: people defending him and Binance on social media platforms, and helping to answer questions; the Binance Angels (who are all volunteers) "addressing questions" and "reassuring" users on "multiple communities"; analytics firms helping with the tracking of the stolen funds; exchanges and wallet services offering to help by blocking "any deposits associated with the hacker addresses"; and "numerous offers for help from law enforcement agencies around the world."

A Blessing in Disguise?

"Speaking with various team members, and as correctly analyzed by community members, such as Gautam Chhugani, this incident may actually be a good thing for us in the long run. Security is a never-ending practice. There are always more things to do in security, and we have implemented many of them in this last week and will continue to implement more in the future. Given this incident, Binance has actually become far more secure than before, not just in the affected areas, but as a whole."