Robinhood Cryptocurrency and Stock Trading App Gets UK Launch Approval

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A popular cryptocurrency and stock trading application looks set to launch in the UK market. Menlo Park-based Robinhood just received the green light from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the nation’s premier financial watchdog.

According to a blog post from Robinhood itself, the trading application is seeking to “democratize financial services for all,” and will be coming to the UK shores at a currently unspecified date. The company announced earlier today that the FCA has granted it broker authorization.

Robinhood: A New Chapter

Former TransferWise executive and current Robinhood president of international operations, Wander Rutgers, had the following to say about the expansion:

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Robinhood, and we’re excited to take the first important step towards bringing our investing platform to customers in the U.K.”

Unfortunately, the firm has not detailed whether its new UK authorization will cover cryptocurrency trading. The feature was launched in 2018, under a subsidiary of Robinhood Markets, much later than the application itself. It also had a much more laborious roll out in the U.S. and the firm still cannot offer cryptocurrency trading to all states thanks to regulatory issues. The firm’s cryptocurrency division, Robinhood Crypto, and its department offering traditional financial products, Robinhood Financial, currently exist as two separate legal entities in the US.

It seems likely, given the lack of mention of cryptocurrency in the blog press, that Robinhood has not yet received regulatory approval for its crypto-asset trading features. Supporting this is the company’s careers page. There are no mentions of Robinhood taking on cryptocurrency specialists for its UK expansion yet, whereas there is a posting for a “Crypto Lead” for its California headquarters. Of course, this is just speculation, however, we would be very surprised for Robinhood to fully roll out all services, particularly potentially controversial ones, in one go in the new market.

For the Masses

Launched in 2013, the Robinhood application has quickly proved popular among younger investors. Despite being only available in a large percentage of the U.S. and no other nations, the firm is now valued at $7.6 million. Along with its plans to move into the UK market, the company is also exploring expanding into Australia. Again, there is no hard date set for this and the process appears to be further behind in terms of progress than the move into the United Kingdom.

Those behind the successful trading application are keen not only to bring the finance industry to the masses but to bring innovation to the industry too. Not only did it start offering cryptocurrency trading pairs in early 2018, but it also rolled out commission-free trading and reportedly has plans to offer a greater range of financial products in the future including European shares, ETFs, and ISAs.

What do you think about Robinhood’s slow but steady expansion? Are you expecting to see cryptocurrency trading offered on the first day of UK trading?

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A former professional gambler, Rick first found Bitcoin in 2013 whilst researching alternative payment methods to use at online casinos. After transitioning to writing full-time in 2016, he put a growing passion for Bitcoin to work for him. He has since written for a number of digital asset publications.

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