Can Robinhood’s New Stock Option Trading Product Attract Millennial Dollars?

Screenshot of digital trading app Robinhood on a smartphone.

Robinhood, the beautifully-designed stock trading app built for millennials, is bringing a potentially higher risk, yet higher reward financial vehicle to investors: stock options.

The 3-year-old trading platform announced roll out of the new, commission-free feature last month.

“We view this as completely changing the way that consumers trade and invest in stock options,’’ co-founder Baiju Bhatt told Bloomberg in an interview.

The feature—making a traditionally more expensive and difficult to access trading asset available to more novice investors—is definitely a change. Yet this launch comes as interest among millennials in investing in cryptocurrencies has reached an all time high over the last few months.

With around 3 million customers, the Palo Alto, California-based startup is closing the gap between itself and legacy stock trader Etrade, Robinhood’s user growth pales to that of cryptocurrency exchange app Coinbase, which has grown to over 12 million users to date. Valued at $1.3 billion, Robinhood has raised over $170 million, while Coinbase, founded in 2012, has raised a total of $217 million.

The number of Robinhood app downloads on the Google Play Store.
The number of Coinbase app downloads on the Google Play Store.

While the two companies are focused on different technologies, we can agree that each is looking to capitalize on the same mobile-forward demographic—millennials keen to get more for their money.

As to whether offering the riskier options trading feature will attract more millennial dollars to Robinhood’s sleek app, time can only tell.

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Cadence is a fintech reporter and writer at Fintech Unltd, where she covers the changing landscape of financial technologies. Previously, Cadence interned at Psychology Today, Business Insider and the Wisconsin State Journal. Cadence is interested in how science and technology intersect with power and culture and is curious about the world we are creating for tomorrow, consciously or not. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2017 with degrees in Journalism and Chinese. Send tips and story ideas to Cadence at [email protected] You can also follow her on Twitter @cadencebambenek.