Robinhood COO: We have enabled more women to trade crypto

Robinhood COO: We have enabled more women to trade crypto

Gretchen Howard described crypto investments “stereotyped as a male-dominated space,” but she has seen significant growth for women during her two years at Robinhood.

The chief operating officer of stock and cryptocurrency trading app Robinhood aims for significant growth in the number of female customers, particularly when it comes to investing in crypto.

In an interview with Business Insider published Wednesday, Robinhood COO Gretchen Howard said the number of women using the trading app had more than tripled, representing a 369% increase year-on-year. In addition, the platform reported in March that 40% of its active female customers were trading crypto, a seven-fold increase over 2020.

“To me it feels like, wow, we’ve enabled these women to trade crypto,” said Howard. “[Crypto is] very new, especially to people getting into investing for the first time. And it’s also stereotyped as a male-dominated space.”

The COO, who said she owns some tokens herself, has been with Robinhood since early 2019, having left a partner position at venture capital firm CapitalG. She said earlier this year she wanted to see “a significant increase of women investors on the platform.”

According to Robinhood, roughly 30% of its active customers were women as of early 2021. As of June, the trading app currently has more than 30 million customers, 18 million of whom have funded accounts.

Data from a Gemini survey published in April indicated that there were more women than men interested in investing in crypto for the first time, but a World Economic Forum report suggested that they were underrepresented working in the blockchain and crypto industry. BDC Consulting, a U.S.-based blockchain firm, hinted that including more women as speakers at crypto conferences as well as increasing their representation in the media could drive participation in the space.

Related: Women-led events may encourage long-term female participation in blockchain

Robinhood is reportedly still under scrutiny from regulators amid its application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, for an initial public offering. On June 30, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ordered the firm to pay $70 million in fines and restitution to customers that the platform allegedly caused “widespread and significant harm.”

The very next day, Robinhood filed a Form S-1 registration statement with the SEC to go public, announcing its intention to raise $100 million in its potential debut on the Nasdaq. Regulators are still reportedly looking into the trading app for its business practices following the controversy over GameStop trades earlier this year.

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