The Public Holdings Inc.'s investing platform is launching cryptocurrency trading, joining rivals like Robinhood Markets Inc. in the digital-currency space.
Public.com, which was founded in 2019, is expanding with this move. Individual investors could previously only trade equities and exchange-traded funds listed in the United States on the platform. Unlike competitors such as Robinhood, the company does not allow options or margin trading, two dangerous techniques for investors.
Starting on Thursday, Public.com will progressively roll out the product to the majority of users, allowing them to purchase, trade, and store 10 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ether, dogecoin, and Cardano's ada token. Residents of New York are presently unable to trade the digital assets, according to the business, because its servicing partner does not yet have the necessary licence in the state.
Individual investors are flocking to cryptocurrencies, intrigued by the possibility for large investment profits. Public.com's offering comes at a time when individual investors are flocking to cryptocurrencies, enticed by the potential for large investment gains. Bitcoin has recently risen in price, closing Thursday at $54,204.61 as of 5 p.m. ET, increasing its month-to-date gains to almost 25%. Alternatives to bitcoin, or altcoins, have also risen in value this year, with dogecoin's year-to-date gain above 4,800 percent.
Cryptocurrencies have "attracted a new generation of investors to it as an asset class," Stephen Sikes, chief operating officer of Public.com, said. "We also believe that integrating cryptocurrency in a well-diversified portfolio has some value."
Public.com is a smaller competitor to giants like Robinhood and Fidelity Investments Inc. in the increasingly congested retail-investing industry. According to the firm, it has over 1 million users, with 90% of them being first-time investors. The company announced a fund round in February, bringing its worth to $1.2 billion.
The company has received backing from celebrities such as actor Will Smith, who co-founded Dreamers VC, a venture capital fund.
Users can follow other investors and share ideas on Public.com's trading platform, which includes social features. Several measures have also been made by the corporation to help protect investors. Public.com has intervened during volatile periods, in addition to banning options and margin trading. Users were temporarily barred from purchasing shares of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. in 2020 after the stock price of the car rental firm swung sharply. It placed safety labels to companies like GameStop Corp. during the meme-stock rise earlier this year, as it has done for other more volatile investments, to warn users of the danger of financial loss.
Payment for order flow, a common but contentious practise in which brokerages channel customer orders to high-speed trading businesses in exchange for compensation, was also discontinued by the company. Supporters argue that the technique allows for free trading and helps individual investors to acquire better trade prices.
Critics claim that it encourages brokers to urge frequent trading in order to increase profits. When Public.com stopped accepting payment for order flow earlier this year, it replaced it with a model that allows consumers to tip the company.
Because cryptocurrencies are such a volatile asset class, Public.com will feature "volatility reminders" on cryptocurrency pages. According to MaryAlexa Divver, Public.com's head of product, the company will also offer crypto-focused educational content on the platform.
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