Robinhood Markets, Inc. is an American financial services company headquartered in Menlo Park, California. The company provides an electronic trading platform accessible via mobile app that facilitates commission-free trades of stocks, exchange-traded funds and cryptocurrency, as well as cryptocurrency wallets, credit cards and other banking services.[1] The company's revenue comes primarily from payment for order flow (53% of Q1 2024 revenues), net interest income (primarily from margin lending, interest earned on customers' cash balances, and credit cards; 41% of Q1 2024 revenues), and subscription fees (6% of Q1 2024 revenues).[2][1] The company has 23.9 million funded customers, 13.7 million monthly active users, and $130 billion in assets under custody.[2]

Robinhood Markets, Inc.
Company typePublic
IndustryFinancial services
FoundedApril 18, 2013; 11 years ago (2013-04-18)
Area served
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Key people
Vladimir Tenev (CEO)
RevenueIncrease US$1.865 billion (2023)
Negative increase US$−536 million (2023)
Negative increase US$−541 million (2023)
Total assetsIncrease US$32.33 billion (2023)
Total equityDecrease US$6.696 billion (2023)
Number of employees
c. 2,200 (2023)
Footnotes / references
Co-founder of Robinhood Vladimir Tenev speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on May 10, 2016, in New York City.
Robinhood co-founder Baiju Bhatt (left) and moderator Josh Constine (right) speak onstage during Day 2 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at the Moscone Center on September 6, 2018, in San Francisco, California.

The company is named after Robin Hood, based on its mission to "provide everyone with access to the financial markets, not just the wealthy", with no commissions or minimum account balances.[3][4] The company has been credited for forcing the elimination of trading fees by several stockbrokers.[5][6][7][8] Robinhood has targeted millennials as customers; in 2022, the average age of its customers was 32.[9]

As the majority of the company's revenues are from payment for order flow, described as a kickback, the company has been criticized for routing orders to market makers that pay the most instead of those that offer the best order execution. It has also been criticized for undisclosed markups on cryptocurrency transactions.[10]


Robinhood was founded in April 2013 by Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, who had previously built high-frequency trading platforms for financial institutions in New York City.[4] They aimed to design a mobile app that was free, easy to use, and addictive.[3][11]

The founders presented the mobile app at LA Hacks in April 2014 and launched a beta release later that year. The mobile app was launched officially in March 2015.[3][12][13]

In February 2018, the company announced that it would be moving its headquarters from Palo Alto to the former headquarters of Sunset magazine in Menlo Park.[14]

In the second quarter of 2020, during the 2020 stock market crash, compared to the first quarter of 2020, trading volumes increased 139%, more than any other major brokerage.[11]

In March 2024, Robinhood launched service in the United Kingdom.[15][16][17]

In April 2024, Robinhood launched Sherwood News, a news website.[18]


In August 2021, Robinhood acquired Say Technologies, which helps shareholders vote proxies and ask questions of management, for $140 million.[19]

In December 2021, Robinhood acquired Cove Markets, a developer of cryptocurrency trading platforms.[20]

In June 2023, Robinhood acquired X1, a credit card issuance startup that offers a no-fee, income-based credit card with rewards, for $95 million, which was rebranded as Robinhood Card.[21][22]

In December 2023, Robinhood acquired Chartr, a publisher of a daily financial newsletter.[23]

In March 2024, Robinhood acquired Marex FCM, a US futures executing broker, with the goal of offering trading in futures contracts.[24]

Layoffs history

In April 2022, Robinhood cut its workforce by 9%.[25] In August that year, the company announced additional layoffs of 23% of its workforce, mostly in operations, marketing and program management.[26][27]

In June 2023, Robinhood announced layoffs of 150 employees or about 7% of its staff.[28][29]

Financing history

In September 2014, Robinhood raised $13 million, bringing its total equity financing to $16 million. Investors included Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Howard Lindzon, Aaron Levie, Dave Morin, Jared Leto, Snoop Dogg, and Nas.[30][31]

In May 2015, the company raised $50 million in a Series B round led by New Enterprise Associates.[32][33][34][35]

In April 2017, Robinhood raised $110 million in a Series C round at a $1.3 billion valuation, bringing its total funding raised to $176 million. Investors included Yuri Milner of DST Global, Greenoaks Capital, and Thrive Capital.[36][37][38]

In May 2018, Robinhood closed a $363 million Series D financing round led by DST Global, bringing its total equity funding to $539 million.[39][40]

In July 2019, Robinhood raised $323 million in a Series E venture funding round led by DST Global.[41]

In May 2020, Robinhood raised $280 million in a Series F venture funding round led by Sequoia Capital at a pre-money valuation of $8.3 billion.[42][43][44]

In August 2020, the company announced a $200 million Series G funding round from a new investor, D1 Capital Partners.[45][46][47][48]

The company became a public company via an initial public offering on the Nasdaq on July 29, 2021.[49][50][51]

In November 2022, as part of the bankruptcy of FTX, the U.S. government seized the 7.6% stake in Robinhood owned by Alameda Research, which were used as partial collateral for a transfer of at least $4 billion from FTX. The shares were sold back to Robinhood for $605 million, or $10.96 per share.[52][53][54]


Stock and ETF trading

Robinhood's first product was commission-free trades of stocks and exchange-traded funds.

The company added functionality including instant deposits in February 2016,[55][56] margin trading and market analytics via a subscription business model called Robinhood Gold in September 2016,[57] options trading in December 2017,[58][59] trading in american depositary receipts in August 2018,[60] support for purchasing fractional shares and dividend reinvestment plans in December 2019,[61][62] systematic investment plans in May 2020,[63] access to initial public offering (IPO) shares in May 2021,[64] extended-hours trading in March 2022,[65] securities lending in May 2022,[66] and individual retirement accounts in January 2023.[67][68][69][70]

Cryptocurrency trading

In February 2018, after amassing a waitlist of over 2 million customers, Robinhood launched commission-free cryptocurrency trading of Bitcoin and Ethereum in several states; availability was expanded later that year. By 2021, cryptocurrency trading was available in every U.S. state except Hawaii and Nevada.[71][72][73][74]

By 2021, the company added trading for Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin.[75] In September 2021, automatic recurring investments in cryptocurrency was introduced.[76][77]

In April 2022, after amassing a waitlist of over 2 million customers, Robinhood issued cryptocurrency wallets to those on the waitlist, and added trading for Shiba Inu, Solana, Compound, Chainlink and Polygon.[78][79]

Also in April 2022, the company announced integration of Bitcoin's Lightning Network to enable faster transactions involving the cryptocurrency.[80]

In April 2023, Robinhood launched Robinhood Connect, allowing users to trade cryptocurrency using other cryptocurrency wallets.[81]

In June 2023, Robinhood delisted Solana, Cardano and Polygon after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission determined that they are unregistered securities and subject to additional regulations.[82][83]

In December 2023, Robinhood expanded its cryptocurrency trading to the European Union.[84][85][86][87]

Robinhood received a Wells notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in May 2024 alleging that the company had violated securities laws over crypto tokens traded on its platform; Robinhood countered that cryptocurrencies are not securities and are not covered by securities laws.[88]


In December 2018, Robinhood launched a waitlist to sign up for new transaction accounts and savings accounts, including debit cards, with market-leading interest rates, which it claimed would be insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). However, after the SIPC said that it had not been contacted by Robinhood and that the accounts would not be insured, the company was forced to suspend sign-ups for the new accounts.[89][90][91]

The accounts were finally launched with insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in December 2019.[92][93] In March 2022, Robinhood launched the Robinhood Cash Card, a debit card that allows users to round up purchases and automatically invest the additional amount in stocks and cryptocurrency.[94]


Payment for order flow and order execution

Robinhood receives most of its revenue from payment for order flow and relies on this source of revenue more than its rivals. This has been criticized as a "backdoor commission".[1][95][96][97] It has also been criticized for undisclosed markups on cryptocurrency transactions.[10]

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined Robinhood $1.25 million in December 2019 for failing to ensure that its customers received the best price for orders, instead routing orders based on payments that it receives from market makers.[98][99]

In December 2020, Robinhood was sued in a class action lawsuit for failing to disclose to customers that it received payment for order flow.[100]

That month, the company paid $65 million to settle accusations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it failed to disclose these kickbacks, that Robinhood customers' orders were executed at prices that were inferior to other brokers' prices, and that Robinhood made false and misleading statements to the contrary.[101][102]

Lack of product availability

The company does not offer trading in mutual funds and bonds.[10]

Robinhood has prohibited its users from purchasing some high-risk penny stocks, such as banning purchases of Helios and Matheson Analytics, the owner of MoviePass, in August 2018.[103]

The company also has significant restrictions for trading in options on their expiration dates.[104]

Access to only low-quality IPOs

Robinhood began offering its clients access to initial public offering (IPO) shares in May 2021.[64] However, by November 2022, all 23 of the IPOs which Robinhood customers had access to had declined by over 10%.[105]

Security breaches (2019-2021)

In July 2019, Robinhood admitted to storing some customer passwords in an unencrypted cleartext format.[106]

In October 2020, Robinhood found that almost 2,000 Robinhood accounts were compromised and that the hackers had siphoned off customer funds.[107]

In November 2021, a voice phishing scheme on a Robinhood employee resulted in about 5 million customers having their email addresses stolen, 2 million customers' having their full names disclosed and three hundred customers having their dates of birth disclosed.[108] It is believed that Conor Brian Fitzpatrick, owner of BreachForums, who was responsible for the 2021 FBI email hack and was arrested in March 2023, was responsible for the breach.[109][110]

Infinite leverage glitch (November 2019)

In November 2019, a user on the r/WallStreetBets subreddit shared a glitch that allowed Robinhood Gold users to borrow unlimited funds via selling covered calls where the shares had been bought using leverage, and the premium from the call was used to access additional leverage to buy more shares in order to sell more calls and so on. The loophole was closed shortly thereafter and the accounts that exploited it were suspended; however, by then some accounts recorded six figure losses by using what WallStreetBets users dubbed the "infinite money cheat code."[111][112][113]

Mobile app outages (March 2020)

On Monday, March 2, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, likely due to high trading volumes, Robinhood suffered a systemwide, all-day outage that prevented users from accessing the mobile app during the largest daily point gain of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 2009 and a day when the S&P 500 climbed more than 4.6%.[114][115][116] Robinhood offered compensation on a case-by-case basis.[117] Robinhood experienced another major systemwide outage on March 9.[118] In late June 2021, Robinhood was fined $57 million by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and was ordered to pay $13 million in restitution to clients affected by outages and misleading communications in March 2020 in the largest penalty ever issued by the agency.[119] In March 2023, the company agreed to pay $10 million to settle class action lawsuits regarding trading losses due to the outages.[120][121][122]

Suicide of Alexander E. Kearns (June 2020)

In June 2020, 20-year old University of Nebraska student Alexander E. Kearns committed suicide after seeing a negative cash balance of US$730,000 (equivalent to $859,442 in 2023) in his Robinhood margin trading account after the expiration, exercize, and assignment of options positions, likely a bull spread. It was later discovered that this balance was not complete as it did not reflect settlement of an offsetting position.[123] In his suicide note, Kearns accused Robinhood of allowing him to take too much risk.[124] The company also was criticized for not responding timely to inquiries by Kearns about the negative balance. Robinhood revamped its options offering, including offering additional guidance and requiring additional criteria and education for customers seeking authorization to trade options.[125][126][127][128] Kearns' family filed and later settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the company.[129]

Violation of anti-money laundering rules (August 2022)

In August 2022, Robinhood's cryptocurrency division was fined $30 million by the New York State Department of Financial Services for allegedly violating anti-money-laundering and cybersecurity regulations, in the department's first cryptocurrency-related enforcement action.[130]

Bankruptcy tag added to AMC stock ticker (May 2023)

On May 1, 2023, Robinhood added a bankruptcy tag to AMC Theatres stock for three minutes.[131] AMC chairman and CEO Adam Aron said he was considering suing Robinhood for its "incomprehensible incompetence".[132]

Gamification accusations (December 2020)

On December 16, 2020, the Securities Division of the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth filed an administrative complaint alleging violation of state securities laws by "marketing itself to Massachusetts investors without regard for the best interests of its customers and failing to maintain the infrastructures and procedures necessary to meet the demands of its rapidly growing customer base" and that Robinhood exploits novice investors with gamification.[133][134] In March 2022, in a win for Robinhood, the Suffolk County Superior Court declared that the new fiduciary duty rule underlying parts of the case was invalid.[135] In February 2024, the company paid $7.5 million and agreed to overhaul its digital engagement practices to settle the remaining claims.[136]

GameStop short squeeze and possible insolvency (January 2021)

On January 28, 2021, Robinhood (and later Webull[137]) restricted the trading of certain stocks, most notably GameStop, to meet collateral requirements at its clearing house, the National Securities Clearing Corporation, following an effort by users of the r/wallstreetbets subreddit to drive up share prices.[138][139][140] Robinhood faced an increase in its collateral requirement from $700 million to $3.7 billion, later reduced to $1.4 billion, and the inability to meet this requirement may have resulted in insolvency in a matter similar to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Robinhood was able to quickly raise funds to meet the reduced requirements.[141][142] The company began once again allowing trading in the affected stocks on January 29.[143]

The decision to halt trading was criticized by customers[144][145] as well as politicians including Ted Cruz and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.[146][147][148] The House Committee on Financial Services questioned Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev during a hearing on February 18, 2021.[149]

Following the controversy, the Robinhood mobile app was review bombed on the Google Play app store.[150] Google deleted at least 100,000 such reviews, calling them "coordinated or inorganic".[151][152] However, after additional negative reviews on the app that resulted in a 1.1-star rating, Google confirmed that the new reviews do not violate Google policies and will not be removed.[153]

Protests were held outside Robinhood headquarters in Menlo Park, California, at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C., and the New York Stock Exchange.[154]

On January 28, 2021, a class-action lawsuit against Robinhood was filed in the Southern District of New York alleging market manipulation and collusion with market maker Citadel Securities to deprive investors of the ability to invest in the open market in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prohibits agreements in restraint of trade.[155][156] The case was dismissed by the Miami federal court in November 2021 on the grounds that the plaintiffs fell short of providing direct evidence of an antitrust conspiracy and that its terms of service allowed the company to prohibit trading by customers.[157] The lawsuit was amended and the decision was appealed, with the plaintiffs seeking $10 billion in damages.[158]


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