Crypto “Presents An Interesting Opportunity For Robinhood,” Clear Interest In The Asset Class

“I think it’s becoming a more and more widely accepted asset class,” said Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev pointing to the institutions taking a bigger role in crypto and being “an accelerant potentially for international expansion.”


“We’re going to be a participant,” in the cryptocurrency industry in the long-term, said Robinhood co-founder and CEO Vlad Tenev in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” this week as the company went public.

“It’s clear that our customers are interested in this asset class, and I think it’s becoming a more and more widely accepted asset class,” said Tenev pointing to the “institutions taking a bigger role” in it.

On being asked about the regulatory aspect of the crypto market, with Senator Elizabeth Warren talking about crypto in the context of snake oil and how it might affect the company, the co-founder of the zero-fee trading app is pretty clear that they are going to be a part of it.

“It’s global by nature which I think presents an interesting opportunity for Robinhood because it’s an accelerant potentially for international expansion into certain markets. So, of course, we’re gonna have to continue constructive dialogue and people are trying to figure out what the regulatory framework is going to be and we welcome that.”

Cryptocurrencies have begun to take a significant share in the company’s transaction-based revenue, with one-fifth of its Q1 revenue coming from crypto and one-third of that is from Dogecoin alone.

When asked about Dogecoin becoming a massive part of their business, if that’s sustainable, and what does it mean to have these meme moments, Tenev said, “there’s going to be idiosyncratic moments where something becomes more culturally relevant like a particular cryptocurrency or a particular stock and, of course, we have to be available for our customers.”

As for Robinhood itself becoming a meme stock, the CEO hasn’t given it much thought. But the first day of trading Robinhood shares doesn't reflect that as plenty of its users didn’t take up the chance to take part in the IPO.

Robinhood priced its share at $38, valuing it at $31.7 billion after raising $1.89 billion from the offering, setting the stage for the company to start trading on Thursday under the symbol HOOD.

But unlike the hype around Coinbase’s direct listing or many other ICOs that saw their prices rocketing, this time, “HOOD” shares opened around $38 level only to decline right from the first few minutes of its opening.

HOOD shares ended its first day as a public company 8.4% below its IPO price, failing to win over the retail investors, or it could be an efficient market in play.

Robinhood set aside around 35% of its IPO shares for the retail business and ended up selling around 20% to 25%, according to the New York Times, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.

The company's debut also came in a crowded and diminished week in the capital markets, with the record-setting year of US listings losing momentum. Meanwhile, the IPO made its co-founders billionaires with Tenev’s holdings valued at about $2.4 billion and co-founder Baiju Bhatt worth $2.8 billion.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Tenev said he’s striving for a “large portion” of the company’s customers to be long-term investors.

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