Baiju Bhatt, the co-founder and co-CEO of crypto and stock trading app Robinhood, spoke to Yahoo! Finance today, June 15, on why he sees cryptocurrencies as hardy enough to stick around for a long time.
Bhatt, who noted that he and business partner Vladimir Tenev had been mining Bitcoin (BTC) as early as 2011, said in an interview that Robinhood was prompted to bring crypto into their app due to its “resiliency:”
“It has this tenacity to it which it just keeps coming back. There are times when there are big run ups in the price, and the price goes down and its relevance in society seems to fade back. And it keeps coming back.”
At the beginning of the year, Robinhood announced that they would add a zero-fee crypto trading option in February, with over 1 million users signed up for the service within a few days. While the crypto trading options that initially went live on Feb. 22 are Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH), Bhatt noted today that they are “investing heavily in adding more coins, wallet functionality.”
When asked about the current atmosphere of regulatory pressure in the United States — as the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is figuring out which cryptocurrencies are securities — Bhatt said Robinhood’s status as a registered broker dealer for the past 5 years has given them a competency with almost every federal regulator.
Crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase, arguably a competitor of Robinhood’s, is also on the path of becoming a broker dealer after acquiring financial services firm Keystone Capital Corp. last week.
As for the future of crypto, although Bhatt did say that he believes that “sovereign nations are going to have cryptocurrencies as their default currencies at some point,” the most important thing to overcome is for those working in the crypto sector to live up to the innovation hype. According to Bhatt, one of the harshest “criticism[s] against innovation” is the lack of real use cases for crypto today:
“When is the last time you’ve ever had a day, when you’ve been like man, I gotta use that Bitcoin right now. It doesn’t happen, right?”
At the beginning of May, Robinhood completed a $363 million funding round in order to expand its crypto platform, which is currently available in 16 US states.
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