All the reasons why Robinhood might be holding off on a Shiba Inu coin listing

October 28, 2021, 11:29 AM UTC

The Shiba Inu cryptocurrency coin continued its legendary bull run on Thursday, climbing 37% in the past 24 hours. At roughly midnight (EST), Shiba Inu reached a new all-time high of $0.000088, but the price has since dipped 15% to $0.000073.

The Shiba Inu coin, which trades as SHIB, was briefly the world’s seventh-largest crypto token in the world with a market cap of over $51 billion—roughly equivalent to the value of streaming service Spotify.

On Thursday, after surpassing the other dog-themed meme coin, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu’s value trailed only that of the most established players in the cryptocurrency world, including major coins Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano.

Shiba Inu’s miraculous rise from second-tier meme coin to crypto giant is largely thanks to the so-called SHIB Army, a large and devoted group of fans and investors.

But recent unconfirmed rumors that Shiba Inu would list on popular stock and crypto trading app Robinhood also helped spark SHIB’s recent trading frenzy. Shiba Inu investors and community members believe that a Robinhood listing could propel the coin to even greater heights, and a petition imploring Robinhood to list the new coin has gathered nearly 400,000 signatures.

Robinhood, too, stands to benefit from a potential listing, but has so far been unwilling to assume the potential volatility and risks of letting its users buy and sell the second dog-related meme coin.  

Crypto Robinhood

Robinhood was founded in 2013 with the mission of making trading more accessible to average investors, launching a user-friendly app that made it easier to trade stocks and ETFs.

Robinhood’s focus on a younger demographic made expanding into cryptocurrencies a natural extension of its services. Over 1 million people—representing a third of Robinhood’s users at the time—signed up to join a wait list before Robinhood launched crypto trading in 2018.

In January 2018, Robinhood began allowing users in select states to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum, before adding new coins like Dogecoin in July and expanding to most of the U.S.

Today, Robinhood users can trade seven crypto currencies on the platform, and crypto trading has become integral to the app’s financial performance. In the second quarter of 2021, Robinhood made $233 million in revenue from crypto trading, accounting for nearly 40% of Robinhood’s $565 million in total revenue that quarter.

But Robinhood is also beginning to feel the volatility of crypto markets.

In the third quarter, Robinhood earned $51 million from crypto trading, less than a quarter of the previous period’s total, leading to a 35% drop in Robinhood’s overall revenue.

Robinhood’s recent struggles in crypto have exacerbated the pressure it’s under to list new coins like SHIB, says Daniel Khoo, a research analyst at blockchain analytics platform Nansen.

On an investor call on Tuesday, Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev did not say whether the platform would list new coins like Shiba Inu.

“Our customers want new coins,” Tenev said. “[But] we’re having to carefully evaluate whether we can add new coins in a way that’s safe for customers and in line with regulatory requirements.”

Robinhood did not return a request for comment.

Khoo says that Robinhood may be concerned that listing a new coin like SHIB could open the company and customers up to things like “money laundering, fraud, and cyberattacks,” which is why Robinhood needs to conduct extensive due diligence before adding coins.

For consumers’ sake, Robinhood may also be wary of adding another volatile currency to its ecosystem.

“Due to uncertain and volatile market conditions, [listing SHIB] might result in significant losses over a short period of time, and possibly liquidation problems in adverse events of sudden price drops or trading halts,” says Khoo.

Robinhood may also be wary of the threat of new crypto rules and regulations. In early October, after Securities and Exchange Commission head Gary Gensler said he wanted all crypto platforms to be registered with the SEC, Robinhood released a statement explaining that such regulation could “adversely affect” crypto markets.  

Is a listing necessary?

The new crypto wallet that Robinhood plans to launch in early 2022 may also make it unnecessary for Robinhood to list coins like Shiba Inu.

Currently, Robinhood users can buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin but cannot trade them between other platforms. A crypto wallet will still limit users to buying and selling Robinhood-approved currencies, but the wallet will let users transfer their holdings to outside accounts from which they can trade assets on other platforms.

“By rolling out wallets we will go a long way towards addressing the primary pain point that customers feel right now,” Tenev said, alluding to the common gripe that when Robinhood customers buy cryptocurrencies they are stuck in Robinhood’s ecosystem.

Still, the prospect of a new crypto wallet has not dampened enthusiasm among the Shiba Inu community for Robinhood to list its coin.

A listing would give SHIB “greater retail exposure,” says Khoo. Interest in Dogecoin skyrocketed after its Robinhood listing, he says.

For now, “investors are finding ways to purchase SHIB even without the use of Robinhood,” Khoo says, and its growth may mean that Robinhood can’t ignore it forever.

Vincent Lau, managing director of international operations at crypto exchange Huobi Global, says that while SHIB’s bull run may falter, he thinks the coin is likely here to stay.

“One thing for sure is that [Shiba Inu’s] attractiveness will continue,” Lau says. It’s not just a “pure meme coin” anymore, he added.

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