Zero-commission brokerage Robinhood Markets will launch the beta version of its cryptocurrency wallet in mid-January, the company announced on Wednesday.
The wallets will let customers trade, send and receive crypto, via the Robinhood app, according to a blog post from the firm.
Robinhood first announced its crypto wallet program in September and started initial testing. “Through our Alpha program, we sought feedback from a tight-knit group of customers from our wallets waitlist,” the company said. “They tested our first iteration of crypto wallets and shared detailed design and functionality feedback with our team to help us deliver a top-notch experience.”
The first transfer made during the alpha testing involved moving some Dogecoin to an external wallet.
Robinhood’s cryptocurrency plans have been attracting great interest from app users. In November, Christine Brown, chief operating officer of Robinhood Crypto, said that 1.6 million people are on the waiting list for the new feature, up from 1 million just a few weeks earlier, according to Reuters.
The wallet’s beta phase will roll out to thousands of customers from the waitlist in mid-January, according to the Wednesday blog post. “We will be sharing more information on the Beta program in the coming weeks,” Robinhood said.
Feedback from the alpha program shows that maintaining the “Robinhood experience” is a top priority for users, along with security, more education and additional clarity around the network fees paid to process cryptocurrency transactions, also known as gas fees, Brown tweeted Wednesday.
“As always, crypto trading on Robinhood will remain commission-free, but transacting on-chain typically requires a network fee, which is decided by the network and can fluctuate based on a number of factors, including the current demand for each network,” Robinhood’s blog post notes. “Alpha testers want that information at the time of transfer in a simple and understandable way.”
With regard to education, testers have requested “signposting” and explanation of terms such as “network fees” and “transaction ID”. In addition to its 24/7 phone support, the company is adding more crypto articles to its Robinhood Learn articles on investing, the blog post states.
Security is also a key area of focus. Robinhood said it plans to roll out additional crypto security features. “These include multi-factor authentication in-app, so we know it's you when you initiate a transfer, and transaction checks to better understand the risk of where coins are being sent.”
Robinhood’s security has been in the spotlight recently. In November a data breach exposed the personal information of 7 million users – about a third of the firm’s customers, according to news reports.
The brokerage said that none of its users’ Social Security, bank account or debit card details were exposed in the breach and that no customers suffered financial losses as a result, according to Bloomberg.
In June, Bloomberg reported that Securities and Exchange Commission scrutiny of Robinhood’s crypto business was delaying the firm’s initial public offering. At that time, the company was already giving clients access to the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and Litecoin via Robinhood Crypto.
Robinhood went public in July in an IPO that valued the firm at $32 billion.
The company has also reportedly been working on a new feature that would let users send cryptocurrency as gifts.
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