Jill Carlson, a CoinDesk columnist, is co-founder of the Open Money Initiative, a non-profit research organization working to guarantee the right to a free and open financial system. She is also an investor in early-stage startups with Slow Ventures.
Everywhere you look, everyone is talking about Robinhood. At this point, the story is well told.
In March, Americans were told to stay at home. The basketball season was called off. President Donald Trump’s daily briefings became the new national form of entertainment. And the stock market lost almost a third of its value.
Across the country, people downloaded Robinhood, the user-friendly investing tool that makes stock trading more fun than a game of Space Invaders. Some got involved as a replacement for sports betting, given no games would be played for the foreseeable future. Others became active on the app after they watched their tried-and-true strategy of holding the S&P index meltdown over the previous weeks. It was time to take matters in hand. Many started trading purely for the dopamine hit.
Robinhood, and the rest of the brokerage space, has been reaping the rewards of this trend. Robinhood doubled its trading revenue in the second quarter, and more old-school competitors like TD Ameritrade and E-Trade saw their own numbers jump by more than 50%.
There is an exciting argument that this rise in retail trading activity will flow from the stock market into the crypto markets. Indeed, the recent upticks in prices and volumes among bitcoin, ether and a whole range of other cryptocurrencies would suggest this is already occurring.
I believe the “Robinhood Rally” is likely a harbinger of things to come for cryptocurrency. And this is true across regulatory treatment, consumer behavior and market movement.
I also believe the “Robinhood Rally” is a reflection of the cryptocurrency industry’s past. In many ways, crypto markets…