Robinhood, the Silicon Valley-based stock and cryptomoney investment application, popular with the younger generation for its “playful”, user-friendly interface and zero commission trading, according to some news reports, decided to abort its UK launch “indefinitely”.
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According to CNBC on July 21, Robinhood informed its UK clients who had been on its waiting list since November that the company would focus on its local market in the not too distant future. A spokesman said:
“Much has changed in the world in recent months, and we have made the difficult decision to postpone our launch in the UK indefinitely. As a company, we are redirecting our efforts to strengthen our core business in the United States.
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In addition, the statement says Robinhood’s global expansion plans have been frozen “for now,” meaning that implementation will remain focused on the U.S. for the foreseeable future.
Robinhood’s expansion into the UK market has been hinted at since at least early 2019, and was in fact confirmed in August of that year, when the commercial application gained regulatory approval there.
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Robinhood’s popularity has reportedly increased due to the global quarantine, with the Millenials-focused application seeing a record 3 million new accounts in the first quarter of 2020.
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In June, the application found itself in troubled waters after a 20-year-old user, Alexander Kearns, committed suicide, according to many news reports, after seeing a negative balance of more than USD 730,000 in his account. Although Robinhood has refused to share details, citing privacy concerns, he probably was trading put options and didn’t realize his negative cash balance was only temporary, according to Forbes.
Since then, Robinhood has promised to improve its users’ experience by adding more educational content and announced a $250,000 donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.