To put it into context, Robinhood — the stock trading app popular with millennials — has somewhere over 3 million users, according to the most recent estimates dating to November.
But yesterday Robinhood announced it will also support cryptocurrency trading in five states. And it says it will operate the service at “break-even,” allowing it to perhaps undercut Coinbase, which charges somewhere around 3% fees on trades.
Robinhood’s site says it has already signed up over 500K people to early access to crypto trading in just 24 hours.
The looming Robinhood vs Coinbase battle puts a new light on the crypto trend. Volatile prices and regulatory uncertainty may be big question marks (see This Week In Data below). But speculating in these markets is already very popular.
A whole generation of investors is being shaped by it and it’s one way to attract people to a consumer-facing financial services platform (as Coinbase’s and Robinhood’s numbers show). Will incumbents like PayPal, E-Trade, or Schwab leap into this market next?
P.S. The growth of infrastructure for crypto, or companies providing “picks-and-shovels,” is one of our Fintech Trends To Watch in 2018. Download the new report here.
This week in data:
35: Investors deployed $16.6B across 1,128 deals to VC-backed fintech companies in 2017, with a record 35 mega-round ($100M+) investments made across the space. Read about this and global fintech trends to look out for in 2018 — including developments in wealth management, insurance, blockchain, etc. — in our latest Fintech Trends to Watch Report.
6: Amazon AWS got a security boost after acquiring the cybersecurity threat-hunting startup Sqrrl this week. Notably, 6 out of 7 original Sqrrl team members worked at the NSA. Sqrrl was previously featured on our market map of leading AI cybersecurity companies.
$103M: This week, 4-year-old cloud data storage company Primary Data shut down. The company had previously raised $103M in total disclosed funding. For more on startup death, check out our list of 242 startup failure post-mortems.
27%: Xiaomi has toppled Samsung as the manufacturer with the largest market share (27% vs Samsung’s 25%) in India’s smartphone market, according to Canalys. Xiaomi was last valued at $46B in the private markets and raised a $1B loan in mid-2017 to expand its presence outside its home market of China.
$75M: Drone startup PrecisionHawk raised $75M in Series D financing led by Third Point Ventures and with participation from Intel Capital, Comcast Ventures, and Verizon Ventures, among others. Check out our research on 30 big industries drones could disrupt, from military operations to waste management.
$39M: In its Q4’17 letter to shareholders, Netflix announced it “took a $39M non-cash charge in Q4 for unreleased content,” or content the video-streaming giant decided not to move forward with. Despite the “unexpected” expense — reportedly tied to the postponement of House of Cards, among other shows — Netflix described a “beautiful Q4,” with 8.3 million global net adds — a quarterly record high for the company.
$4M: Facebook acquired identity authentication startup Confirm.io this week. The company had previously raised $4M from Accomplice, Cava Capital, Rho Ventures, and Zelkova Ventures. The move marks Facebook’s first acquisition of the year, following its acquisitions of Source3, Ozlo, and Fayteq. Our Expert Intelligence subscribers previously got a look at 9 other companies Facebook might go after.
79: The number of attempts it took to clone Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, two genetically identical monkeys created in a Chinese laboratory. The animals were cloned using a somatic cell nuclear transfer technique (SCNT), and were also the first non-human primates cloned using this method. While the work raises ethical concerns, researchers involved in the project hope to use these cloned monkeys for “studying diseases with a genetic basis, including some cancers, metabolic and immune disorders.”
€1,100: Four students complained to police after getting a €1,100 bill for a steak dinner near St. Mark’s Square in Venice. The meal consisted of four steaks and a plate of fried fish, and the diners drank water. Venice’s mayor and police chief have promised to take action against vendors overcharging tourists following the incident.
2: The number of US federal financial regulatory agencies looking closely at stricter regulation for cryptocurrencies, according to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week by Jay Clayton and J. Christopher Giancarlo, chairmen of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, respectively. The regulators said that cryptocurrencies may be promoted as currencies or coins or tokens, but appear primarily to be investment vehicles, which would make them subject to more regulation.