Robinhood COO on Why It's Crucial to Launch Its Crypto Wallet Next Year
. You can now join a waitlist to get early access to the wallet as soon as it launches and joining us now is christine brown, chief operating officer and crypto lead at robinhood. Welcome to the show christine. So the common phrase is not your keys, not your crypto, meaning users cant currently buy and hold actual bitcoin on robinhood. Does this wallet change things? So what this does is it enables our users to move their assets on or off the platform um you know. So if a user uses robinhood to buy, you know their favorite coin, um commission free uh, they can then move it to their own. Private wallet manage their keys if they want to, or they can keep it with us, and we will, you know, provide this hosted solution um, where they can also deposit if they want to come centralize their coins um in one place, they can do that as well. So i think hi christine. I think that one of the questions main questions here is that how does robinhood compete with all these crypto exchanges in the u.s right? I mean what what would what is the advantage of doing your crypto through robinhood, as opposed to coinbase or kraken, or some of these big exchanges that do this full time yeah? I think that weve seen a few things when it comes to. Why are customers coming to our platform? Specifically? Why are they coming to robin hood um? The first is that the app is easy to use and it puts crypto right next to your other investments right, you can open an account um and you can have your crypto next to your brokerage investments.
Next year, cash management investments right its a one stop shop for for really everything you would need um in addition to that, we dont charge commissions right. So when you come and you place a hundred dollar trade youre, getting a hundred dollars of the coin that you buy and were not eating away at um at you know your assets by by charging a commission on top of it um. I think. Thirdly, you know for a lot of retail investors that are just getting into crypto um its a new space and um. Robin hood has educational tools and products that make getting started very easy right. So if you want to just dip your toe in um robin hoods a great place to do it, we have products that are really for the long term investor, like dollar cost averaging. We have a recurring product where you can buy a little bit amount at a recurring basis, um which, which makes the markets a little less intimidating for people good morning christine. So are you doing payment for order flow with uh crypto as well? And, if so, with? Whom um yeah and what do you make of sure um? So we do route our trades to uh trading venues who execute the orders for us. We think that this allows us to get the best price for customers in terms of having them compete on pricing as well as um not offer not having to charge a commission.
On top of that, you know robin had, in general revolutionized the the brokerage industry by offering zero commission trading before robin hood. You know most people are charging about seven dollars for trade um, which i think is was really not great for the retail investor right. You think of oh i want to. I want to place a small trade. A 50 trade. Seven dollars is a huge percentage of that today. In the crypto exchange space, we still see people charging commissions, which is a really outdated model, so um, who are your counterparties with with this uh, with payment for order flow here, um? Who are the largest ones? I mean we. We know we know who they are for your equity side, but who is it for crypto yeah? We have a few different trading venues that we work with. We actually arent talking about or disclosing publicly um. You know who they are um, but we think that we uh vet and make sure that they are uh, providing us great pricing, um and a competitive market for our customers to come in. I think, at the end of the day, what matters is how much coin youre getting for your cash, and so, if you stack us up against the competitors um, i think the results will speak for themselves. So sec, chairman gensler, has come out strongly against uh payment. Forwarder flows hes, obviously not a fan of that hes also come out strongly against the crypto markets um.
First of all, what do you think of that and whats your plan b? If regulations start to uh clamp down on payment for order flows into crypto markets as well yeah when it comes to payment for order flow in our equities business im, really not the expert there. I do think that our chief legal officer, dan gallagher has kind of shared a perspective that that i would echo or reference in terms of you know where robin hood stands on the pfop issue, um in terms of crypto regulation, more broadly um, we are still at Such an early stage of crypto adoption and the crypto markets, you know when you look at the adoption and how many people in the us alone are trading or holding crypto. You know weve still only scratched the surface, so i think theres a long way to go when it comes to retail, availability and kind of more people participating and getting access to the markets. I do think that will come with additional thoughts, around regulation of how to make sure that customers are being protected, and in that sense we line up with our with kind of that regulatory posture. We want to make sure customers are protected. We want to make sure that theyre getting the best outcomes um and you know again not everything – has to be regulatory enforced for it to be something that at robin hood, we build products to a great example is taxes right, crypto taxes are uh kind of confusing Right, a lot of people have giant spreadsheets that they constantly have to work through every april um.
We saw this early on and we have been providing 1099s and cost basis tax information for our users on our crypto product, even though its not a regulatory requirement. So, while i think that there is a kind of broadening regulatory landscape um, i think at the end of the day, what were going to be building is whats best for our users, christine speaking of regulatory scrutiny. Earlier this year. Obviously, robin hood was speaking a lot in congress and received a lot of criticism over the pausing of trading, both in crypto and stocks, due to what many believe was order book manipulation, any thoughts onto the lessons learned and what the the uh plan is going forward. I think what we saw earlier this year was a generational shift in how we invest right. How do people think about the markets? What do they want access to um and how are they gon na put their dollars behind? You know different investments and robin hood was really at the center of that. I think what we learned is that we can be this platform where, where that generational shift is happening, um and and weve spent on the crypto side, specifically a lot of time, investing in not only kind of our additional products like our wallet product that were talking About today, um, but investing in system hardening and scalability, so that we can be um there for our customers and in the moments that they need us.