Robinhood to let customers buy crypto using outside wallets and apps

Robinhood to let customers buy crypto using outside wallets and apps

Robinhood, an online stock brokerage that has expanded into crypto, announced on Thursday a new product for Web3 developers: Robinhood Connect.

The feature allows customers using outside wallets and decentralized applications, or programs running on blockchains, to buy tokens through the brokerage’s crypto exchange. Robinhood currently lets users trade 18 cryptocurrencies on its platform, from mainstays like Bitcoin and Ether to memecoins like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.

“Our conviction in the future of Web3 remains strong, and we’ve continued to build new products that put the accessibility and usability of crypto front and center for customers,” Johann Kerbrat, general manager of Robinhood Crypto, said in a statement.

The announced plugin is free for developers to embed into Web3 applications, Kerbrat told Fortune. (Customers that use Robinhood Connect may see small fees, including an existing 1.5% charge for purchasing crypto via a debit card or bank account.) The Web3 wallets, Phantom and Exodus, plan to integrate the plugin into their platforms. And so does Giddy, another wallet, whose CEO Eric Parker said in a statement to Fortune that Robinhood Connect provides “an easy way to buy and transfer crypto.”

Along with Robinhood Connect, the publicly traded brokerage announced upgrades to its existing crypto offerings, including a homepage redesign to emphasize crypto products, personalized price alerts, and access to advanced charts beyond line graphs that depict a digital asset’s current price. 

The announcements continue the online brokerage’s steady expansion of crypto services despite growing regulatory uncertainty and recent scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which issued Robinhood an investigative subpoena in December, shortly after the fall of FTX, the infamous cryptocurrency exchange that declared bankruptcy in November.

Founded in 2013 as an online brokerage that caters towards nonprofessional traders, Robinhood dove into the world of crypto in 2018 when it offered customers the option to buy and sell Bitcoin and Ether, the native cryptocurrency for the Ethereum blockchain.

As the company, founded by Stanford University graduates Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, expanded the number of tokens it offered traders, it also expanded its crypto products. 

Since 2021, the online brokerage has explored the possibility of a Robinhood crypto wallet, or a one-stop shop where users could store crypto holdings. In 2022, it released a beta of a limited “wallet,” which allowed users to transfer crypto from Robinhood to other exchanges, like Coinbase, Kraken, and Binance. And in 2023, it released a more expansive offering akin to the popular wallet MetaMask, which allows users to store a variety of crypto offerings, including non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, as well as interact with decentralized applications.

Despite its continued commitment to crypto, the brokerage has seen declining crypto trading revenue on its platform amid Crypto Winter, reporting a 24% decrease in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021.

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