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Buying Bitcoin on Robinhood: Step by Step Guide

Robinhood is an investment platform that allows users to enjoy commission-free trading from the comfort of their mobile devices. While they primarily focus on allowing their clients to invest in the traditional stock market, Robinhood added a crypto section of their platform during the huge crypto asset bubble of 2017.

While Robinhood’s cryptocurrency integration can be interesting for those who wish to manage all their assets in one app, this platform still has a long way to go in terms of becoming a true bitcoin bank, as users are still unable to withdraw their crypto holdings into their personal wallets where they control private keys.

Robinhood Overview

Robinhood

  • A great one-stop-shop for anyone looking to invest in cryptocurrency or stocks
  • A simple onboarding procedure requires very little of the user
  • Fully regulated financial institution in the United States
  • Support for BTC,

  • ETH, LTC, BCH, DOGE, ECC and BSV

SUPPORTED CRYPTOCURRENCIES BTC,
ETH, LTC, BCH, DOGE, ETC, BSV
COMMISSIONS Commission-free trading

REGISTER NOW

Robinhood Pros and Cons

For

  • Sleek and intuitive interface on mobile and desktop devices

  • Commission-free cryptocurrency trading

  • Get a debit card linked to your account

  • Traditional traditional actions in addition to cryptographic assets

Against

  • Faced a controversy regarding the sale of user data to high-frequency traders

  • Currently only available in the U.S.

  • Not available in 4 U.S. states

  • Cryptocurrency selection is quite limited

  • Faced multiple security incidents

Robinhood at a glance

MINIMUM BALANCE:
$0

TRADING COST:
Commission-free trading

MOBILE APP:
Yes

CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING:
Yes

CRYPTOGRAPHIC DEPOSITS:
No

CRYPTOGRAPHIC WITHDRAWALS:
No

DEBIT CARD:
Yes

CRYPTOCURRENCIES:
7 (BTC, ETH, BSV, DOGE, LTC+)

SECURITY:
High

CUSTOMER SERVICE:
Phone, email, in-app

What Is Robinhood?

Robinhood is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, and allows users of all net worth levels to invest in stocks and other assets via their mobile app and website. This is an example of a company at the forefront of the financial technology revolution, as there are no physical storefronts or bank branches associated with Robinhood. Robinhood is considered one of the best platforms for trading stocks and cryptocurrencies under one (virtual) roof.

Robinhood is a regulated financial institution in the United States. They are regulated by FINRA as broker-dealers and are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Since there are no commissions on the platform, Robinhood earns most of their money by earning interest on their users’ cash balances, selling data on their users’ activity, and margin loans. As of 2022, the company has over 1,250 employees.

How does Robinhood’s cryptographic feature work?

Robinhood treats bitcoin and other crypto assets just like any other asset on their platform. Users are able to trade bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, Ethereum Classic, and Bitcoin SV via Robinhood. However, it should be noted that cryptocurrency trading is completed in a separate account from a regular Robinhood Financial account. This separate account is with Robinhood Crypto.

As a trading platform focused primarily on the traditional financial world, Robinhood has not yet implemented the ability to move cryptocurrencies to and from their platform. In other words, users aren’t actually buying real crypto assets when using Robinhood, as they don’t have the ability to acquire the underlying assets right now. Instead, users are gaining exposure to the price movements of the various cryptocurrencies supported by the platform.

What currencies can you buy and sell?

In terms of crypto assets in particular, Robinhood Crypto supports BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, DOGE, ETC. and BSV. Robinhood does not currently offer traditional fiat currency trading.

Country restrictions

Robinhood Crypto is currently only available in 46 US states; however, UK residents are able to join a waiting list to gain immediate access to the platform once launched through the pond. The states where Robinhood services are not currently available are Hawaii, Nevada, New Hampshire, and West Virginia.

Taxes

Robinhood’s biggest selling point has always been the fact that it doesn’t charge any fees for trades made on its platform. Robinhood has found alternative ways to monetize trading a variety of assets, which makes it an attractive option for anyone trading stocks, cryptocurrencies, and other assets available to trade on the platform. That said, this doesn’t mean there aren’t any fees on the platform.

Here are some of the taxes to watch out for on Robinhood:

  • ATM debit card fees – Debit cards associated with Robinhood accounts offer free withdrawals from ATMs; however, this only applies to ATMs that are part of the Allpoint or MoneyPass networks. An ATM provider that is not part of either of these networks may charge a fee for a Robinhood cardholder to make a withdrawal, and Robinhood will not refund that fee to you.
  • Foreign transaction fees – Another fee that can occur with a Robinhood debit card is a foreign transaction fee. This is a fee that will likely be charged by a foreign payment processor or ATM provider in a situation where you are trying to use U.S. dollars abroad for a transaction that is not U.S. dollar denominated.
  • Robinhood Gold – One last fee to consider with a Robinhood account is only for Robinhood Gold users who are interested in trading on margin. A Robinhood Gold account comes with a monthly fee of $5, but there are no fees attached to $1,000 of margin trading per month. However, the fee rises to 5% after the first $1,000.

Supported crypto wallets

There is currently no native support for the crypto wallet involved in Robinhood’s financial platform. This means that users are unable to withdraw bitcoins to their wallets after making a purchase. In addition, users are unable to deposit bitcoins that they already own in Robinhood.

That said, the option to deposit or withdraw various cryptocurrencies via their underlying networks may be added in the future. Robinhood has stated its intention to at least offer the ability for users to withdraw crypto assets to native wallets. However, the company is also concerned about money deposited on the platform from illicit sources, meaning it may take much longer to feel comfortable with cryptocurrency-based deposits.

Does Robinhood have a credit card?

Robinhood does not currently offer a credit card, but it does have a debit card that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

This is actually a useful product for cryptocurrency users as they can potentially sell some of their cryptocurrencies and load them directly into their Robinhood debit card to make payments.

Of course selling cryptocurrencies is generally considered a tax event, so it’s not something you want to do frequently.

How to sign up for Robinhood

The best way to get started with Robinhood is to download the app rather than using their website. This is a mobile-first platform, and you’ll probably still have your phone with you more often than your laptop or desktop computer.

After downloading the Robinhood app, you will have to open the app and tap on the “Sign Up” button displayed on the screen. You’ll need to fill out a good amount of personal information during the setup process, as there are a number of regulations that Robinhood must follow to stay compliant with U.S. law. After sharing your social security number and other information about yourself, you should be able to get your account approved within minutes.

Once you have an account, you will need to link your bank account to Robinhood to get any usage from the platform. This process is extremely simple, as you can choose your bank based on its company logo.

The last step is to fund your Robinhood account with your bank account and start investing.

Robinhood Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Robinhood you’ll probably want to check out something like SoFi or Wealthsimple.

Both SoFi and Wealthsimple offer exposure to traditional financial markets in addition to cryptocurrency. Like Robinhood, both SoFi and Wealthsimple do not give their customers true ownership of their cryptocurrencies, and it is not possible to withdraw cryptocurrencies from the site.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for more direct crypto ownership (but no stock trading option), you might want to check out a crypto exchange like Coinbase.

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