The FinTech startup Robinhood's very popular “Robinhood Crypto” service, which allows customers to do commission-free trading of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) via a simple and elegant mobile app, has now expanded to Michigan.
This service, which was launched on 22 February 2018, initially was only available to customers in the U.S. states of California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, and New Hampshire, with the promise that it would come to more states as the company managed to obtain regulatory approval. Since then, six more states have been added: Colorado (on April 20th), Mississippi (April 26th), Wisconsin (May 3rd), New Mexico (May 3rd), Florida (May 8th), and finally, the most recent addition, Michigan (May 9th).
Robinhood’s mobile app is available for both Android and iPhone. It allows commission-free trading of U.S. stocks, options, ETFs, as well as cryptocurrencies, all in one app. Currently, it is possible to only buy, hold, or sell Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), but the plan is to support trading of other popular cryptocurrencies later. In addition to real-time market data for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), you can get market data for fourteen other cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Dash (DASH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Lisk (LSK), Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR), NEO (NEO), OmiseGO (OMG), Qtum (QTUM), Ripple (XRP), Stellar (XLM), Zcash (ZEC).” As for historical price data, the app allows the user to see how prices have fluctuated over the past 24 hours, one week, one month, one year, and five years.
Although Robinhood’s large user base, commission-free crypto trading, and beautifully-designed mobile app help it to be a very strong competitor to Coinbase in the United States, especially amongst millennials, Robinhood is not a direct competitor since it has two serious limitations.
First, it does not allow you to withdraw the coins they are holding for you, i.e. you can only sell them for fiat. However, Robinhood plans to support this feature “in the near future.”
Second, you cannot deposit into your Robinhood crypto wallet existing coins that you may have on other wallets. This is what the FAQ section of the Robinhood Help Center has to say on this matter:
We currently don’t allow transfers of your existing cryptocurrency assets into your Robinhood Crypto account. Our primary concern is to prevent money from illegal activity being used for transactions on Robinhood Crypto. We’ll be sure to update you if and when this type of transfer becomes available.
In United States, amongst the few companies that offer commission-free crypto trading, Robinhood’s closest and strongest competitor is the Goldman-backed startup Circle Internet Financial with its “Circle Invest” app, which got launched on 13 March 2018, is available in 46 states instead of 11, and which offers trading in five additional cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Zcash (ZEC), and the most recently added, Monero (XMR).