Robinhood to offer cryptocurrency trading by phone

By Ray Downs  |  Feb. 22, 2018 at 11:25 PM
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Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Robinhood, the app that allows people to make small stock investments from their phone without paying a commission, will allow users to invest in cryptocurrency, the company announced Thursday.

For now, he new option will only be available to users in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana and New Hampshire. And the only cryptocurrencies on the app will be Bitcoin and Ethereum. More states and more cryptocurrencies could potentially be involved in the near future.

"With the release of Robinhood Crypto, we're continuing our mission of making the financial system work for everyone, not just the wealthy," the company said in a news release.

According to Bloomberg, Robinhood's user numbers have jumped from 2 million in April to more than 3 million in November, when the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company first announced it would offer cryptocurrency trading.

And on Thursday, Robinhood also announced it hit 4 million users and more $100 billion in transaction volume.

Cryptocurrencies have gained a great deal of renewed attention in recent months as prices of Bitcoin soared to nearly $20,000 in November. But it is also known for its wild fluctuation. On Thursday, the Bitcoin price was just under $10,000. However, Robinhood's commission-free trades on small amounts of money could spur users into taking a gamble.

"Reminder: cryptocurrencies are still a new and hyper-volatile asset class, and could drop to near-zero at any time," tweeted Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of Ethereum. "Don't put in more money than you can afford to lose. If you're trying to figure out where to store your life savings, traditional assets are still your safest bet."

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