4 out of 5 stars
The cryptocurrency market has been one hot trend for investors over the last few years. Experts still project astronomical growth for the market. Some even say it will top $1.4 billion US in the next few years.
If you’re hoping to take advantage of this growing market, you’re likely wondering how to invest in crypto. There are quite a few different coins to invest in, and there are many different exchanges you can use.
One option you have is Robinhood Crypto. Our Robinhood Crypto review examines how this fintech trailblazer performs when trading cryptocurrencies.
What Can Robinhood Crypto Do?
The Robinhood app shook up the investment market when it was first introduced in 2014. It promised to democratize investing and make it easier for the average person. Since then, it’s gained a reputation for making stock trading simpler.
The Robinhood Crypto exchange was introduced in 2018 to handle cryptocurrencies.
The exchange allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies at any time. Currencies traded on the exchange include:
The exchange offers fee-free trading. You can use deposits and funds from crypto sales to buy coins immediately. Other funds, such as sales from ETFs or stocks, become available within three business days.
Cryptocurrency and online trading naturally raise concerns about security. Robinhood Crypto uses both online and offline storage, which improves security.
The majority of coins are in “cold” storage, which means they’re offline. The company also carries insurance to protect against cybersecurity risks, including breaches.
There is both an in-house team and third-party vendors who conduct routine tests. This helps to ensure a higher level of security for trading cryptocurrencies. Robinhood also uses a constantly rotating list of individuals to authorize trades.
Robinhood Crypto Limitations
Robinhood Crypto does have its limitations. One is that you can’t withdraw your coins. The company plans to add coin withdrawal at some point in the future.
You also can’t transfer cryptocurrencies you own elsewhere into your Robinhood Crypto wallet. The company is reviewing options to allow for transferring coins between wallets.
Currently, users have no access to their wallets. That means Robinhood Crypto is primarily a tool for buying and trading coins.
How Does Robinhood Crypto Work?
If you already have a Robinhood account, you may have instant access to funds. A Robinhood Instant account, for example, gives you instant access to funds up to $1,000 for buying crypto. Gold accounts also offer instant access to funds.
Sales from ETFs, options, and stock sales take a little bit longer to arrive. You should have access to these funds after three days.
Proceeds from crypto sales are immediately available. So are limited cash deposits.
Once you have funds available, you can proceed to buy coins. You’ll navigate to the Details page of the currency you want to buy, then enter details about the purchase. You’ll review and confirm your order.
You can buy fractional coins using Robinhood Crypto. This is good news if you want to invest in cryptocurrency, but don't have a few thousand dollars lying around.
Selling is as simple as buying. You’ll navigate to the currency’s Detail page, then enter details of the sale. You’ll have a chance to confirm and then place the order.
Once you’ve sold coins, you’ll have immediate access to the proceeds. You can use these to invest in another currency.
Protection against Drastic Market Changes
Cryptocurrency prices can be quite volatile. Robinhood Crypto uses a collar to keep your buy/sell prices within a certain range.
A limit order tells the system to buy or sell a specific amount at a specified price. Market orders are adjusted against limit orders, providing a collar.
That means your limit order may not execute if the price moves outside an acceptable range. This can protect sellers against dramatic drops in prices. It also protects buyers safe from huge upswings.
Robinhood Crypto Review: The Pros
Now that we’ve reviewed the features of Robinhood Crypto, it’s time to take a look at how it actually works in practice. What are the pros and cons of using this particular cryptocurrency exchange?
Ease of Use
Robinhood has always scored points for its app design. The company has even won awards for its design in the past. Its crypto exchange follows the same principles.
The app is simple to use, and the interface is inviting. It integrates with new tech, like biometric account security. Use your thumbprint or face ID to unlock your account.
Buying and selling is also simple. Pick your currency. With a couple more taps and a swipe up, you’ve completed your trade.
This breezy interface makes it easy to take advantage of the volatility in the crypto markets. Make a quick buy when prices dip down. Later, when prices rebound, you can sell just as quickly.
The interface makes trading crypto less like a chore and more like a game.
Robinhood’s entire aim is to democratize investing. To help with that, they’ve taken away one of the biggest barriers: trade-based fees.
Normally, you’d pay a fee per trade. That’s not great when trading is easy and fun to do. It’s also not good news when crypto prices are so volatile.
Fees can eat into any profit you might stand to gain on buying and selling. Robinhood joins a couple of other exchanges in doing away with fees.
That means any gains are yours to keep. It also makes it easier for people new to crypto to get started with a few easy trades. The exchange is also more forgiving if you happen to make a poor trade, since you’re not paying fees on top of your mistake.
Robinhood Crypto Review: The Cons
At this point, the Robinhood Crypto exchange probably sounds like a pretty safe bet. A simple, gamified investment experience with zero fees? It’s a great tool to get started.
Like everything, though, there are a few drawbacks to using Robinhood Crypto. We’ve already touched a little bit on the biggest one: functionality.
Robinhood Crypto was introduced in 2018. Two years on, the company still hasn’t made it possible to withdraw your coins. That means all you can do, besides buying and selling, is look at your crypto.
This is a shortcoming, especially given that there are other exchanges that do allow withdrawal. Some of them even have no fees, just like Robinhood.
You can, of course, withdraw your investment to a US bank account. The unfortunate reality of this is you’ll need to pay capital gains tax on any earnings.
Another limitation is the number of coins available. Other exchanges offer a wider range of currency selection. That gives you more options and allows you to diversify your crypto holdings more.
The limited range of coins is complemented by a relative lack of extra features. This is a basic interface for trading. While it’s a great way to get started, it’s not necessarily the right choice for investors who want more.
Lack of Transparency
Another concern about Robinhood Crypto is the lack of transparency about prices.
Some other fee-free exchanges admit they adjust the prices the customer sees. That’s where they make their money. Instead of charging you an upfront fee, they adjust buy and sell prices to create a profit for the company.
Robinhood’s team wouldn’t comment on price setting practices for the app. There’s also some concern their practices may be designed to induce “fear of missing out.” By adjusting prices a particular way, the company can entice users to buy or sell more often than not.
It’s wise for investors to check other exchanges to get a better picture of the market before making a trade.
Finally, there are security concerns with the Robinhood app, as there are with almost any crypto trading exchange. No large-scale breaches have been reported. There have been isolated account hacks.
The security offered by the company is comparable to its competitors. It's not necessarily riskier or safer to use Robinhood to trade cryptocurrencies.
Use of the Robinhood Crypto app has expanded over the last two years. When it first launched, it was only available in a handful of American states.
Today, Robinhood Crypto is available only to residents of 47 US States.
Is Robinhood Crypto Right for You?
After comparing the pros and cons, there’s one question left to answer. Is Robinhood Crypto the right exchange for you?
For budding cryptocurrency investors, the answer may be yes. The simple exchange and low fees make this an attractive exchange for first-timers. You may even want to use it as an investing tool to teach youngsters.
If you’re hoping to improve your crypto skills, you may need to look elsewhere. You may want an app that gives you more flexibility and lets you do more.
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Invest in Crypto the Right Way
With luck, this comprehensive Robinhood Crypto review will help you decide if this is the right exchange for you.
If you’re still looking for a trading exchange, or just want to get more information about crypto trading, check out our blog. We have plenty of in-depth reviews and how-to guides that will help you become a successful cryptocurrency investor.