Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev said the online brokerage company is working on a crypto wallet feature “as fast as possible”, he revealed in a ‘fireside chat’ posted on YouTube yesterday. 

“As much as people are bugging me on that on social media, I’m bugging our crypto team and our software engineers,” Tenev said, adding, “We’re going to try and get that done as fast as possible.” 

But that’s not all the Robinhood CEO revealed in the discussion; he also suggested that its forthcoming crypto wallet may be accompanied by new cryptocurrencies joining the platform. “We’ll see,” he added. “We might add some new coins along the way.” 

Tenev’s eagerness to embrace the crypto industry makes sense, given that the trading platform had—by February 25—already added 6 million new users to its crypto app in 2021. The Robinhood Crypto app gives customers the opportunity to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.

However, like PayPal, Robinhood doesn’t let users transfer their crypto holdings into and out of their account. According to the Robinhood website, the platform is “considering these features in the future,” and will update customers as soon as possible; presumably, a full-fledged crypto wallet would add this functionality to the platform.

Robinhood and GameStop

It’s not all been plain sailing for Robinhood in recent months. 

Crypto Community Furious at Robinhood for Stopping GameStop Buys

Robinhood’s central message is that it is a trading platform dedicated to decentralizing finance. However, in January of this year, Robinhood froze trades of GameStop stock ($GME) after it shot up in value following a concerted effort by the now-famous WallStreetBets Reddit group.

To crypto advocates, the fact that Robinhood could unilaterally shut down trading of a particular stock seemed to illustrate all the problems of centralized platforms. “Robinhood just delisted $GME, $AMC and $NOK. This is some clown shit,” said CoinShares chief strategy officer Meltem Demirors at the time, while Barstool Sports president David Portnoy didn’t pull his punches. “Either Robinhood allows free trading like they say they do or they die. It’s really that simple,” he tweeted.

Robinhood subsequently lifted restrictions around $GME trading, and explained that it imposed them simply because it didn’t have enough cash on hand to meet its regulatory requirements. Tenev will no doubt be hoping that the launch of Robinhood’s fully-featured cryptocurrency wallet will appease the crypto faithful—and more importantly, get them using the trading platform. 

 

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