Robinhood to launch crypto trading in EU even as cryptocurrency revenue slides almost 26% from last quarter

Robinhood, the popular online stock brokerage perhaps best known for its role in the memestock craze of early 2021, announced in its third-quarter earnings report on Tuesday that it plans to launch crypto trading in the European Union “in the coming weeks.”

“Looking ahead, we remain focused on providing industry-leading products that serve far more of customers’ financial needs, gaining market share, expanding internationally, and continuing to change the industry for the better,” Vlad Tenev, CEO and cofounder, said in a statement.

The brokerage app’s planned expansion of crypto trading, currently only available in the U.S., into Europe, however, accompanied a slide in in the platform’s overall crypto trading revenue—from $31 million in the previous quarter to $23 million, a 26% drop. Compared year-over-year, Robinhood’s decrease in crypto revenue was even more dramatic: a 55% downswing from $51 million in 2022.

The number of crypto assets held on behalf of customers decreased about 11% from the previous quarter, from $11.5 billion to $10.2 billion, but there was a 9% year-over-year increase from $9.4 billion.

In addition to the crypto downtick, Robinhood reported a 4% decrease in revenue from the previous quarter, from $486 million to $467 million. The company’s loss of $85 million for the third quarter, a per-share loss of nine cents, was below analysts’ estimates of two cents. In the second quarter of 2023, Robinhood posted a profit of $25 million. Shares plummeted as much as 7.5%, to $9.03, in after-market trading.

Robinhood’s plan to expand crypto trading into Europe follows the company’s announced expansion into the U.K. earlier this year. It is also one of the more ambitious crypto announcements to come out of the firm since it unveiled its crypto wallet in 2022, especially as the brokerage has scaled back offerings in the U.S. following enforcement actions from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In June, the SEC sued Coinbase and Binance, two of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges, and argued that they allowed users to trade unregistered securities, including the tokens for the Solana, Polygon, and Cardano blockchains. Days later, Robinhood delisted the tokens from its crypto trading platform.

And in August, Robinhood and Jump Crypto, one of the largest market makers for crypto that has earned scrutiny from SEC for its association with TerraUSD’s creator Do Kwon, were reportedly no longer in business together.

When asked about the downturn in the crypto market on an investor call following the third-quarter earnings release, Tenev, the CEO, said that “we are focused on using this as an opportunity to build our capabilities to build our platform.”

However, he said he believes that the expansion of crypto trading into Europe—where “regulatory clarity,” he said, will allow Robinhood to “offer a different set of assets” compared with the U.S.—will open up the brokerage’s crypto business to hundreds of millions of new users.

As for the U.S., Tenev said Robinhood is still waiting for guidance from the government. It would be a shame, he said, for innovation in the cryptocurrency market “to be coopted overseas.”

Update, Nov. 7, 2023: This article has been updated with additional comments from Tenev.

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About the Author: Daniel