The online brokerage service Robinhood said on Thursday that 9.5 million of its customers traded cryptocurrency on its platform in Q1 of 2021.
That’s up from just 1.7 million in Q4 of last year.
In a blog post, the company chalked up the numbers to the crypto’s broader “popularity”; the market has doubled in value over the past three months, and the global crypto market capitalization is now over $2 trillion.
The post also says that Robinhood’s founders are “fascinated by blockchain technology,” and that “the prospect of an open and decentralized global financial system, one where everyone can have access to financial services, strongly aligned with Robinhood’s mission.”
And while it’s certainly true that growth on a popular trading platform like Robinhood may mirror growth in the rest of the market, there may be something else that the company isn’t pointing to.
In late January, traders used the Reddit message board r/WallStreetBets to juice the price of ailing stocks like GameStop, Blackberry, and AMC. When Robinhood responded by halting trades on those stocks, many of those traders turned their attention to the cryptocurrency ; the price of the token shot up significantly after endorsements from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Robinhood eventually restricted crypto trading, too.
The company is now facing dozens of lawsuits from unhappy customers, some of which are crying market manipulation.
Author: Will Gottsegen