9.5 million Robinhood users traded cryptocurrencies in the first quarter, compared to 1.7 million in the last quarter of 2020

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Vladimir Tenev, co-founder of Robinhood.

  • Robinhood said the number of customers trading cryptocurrencies on its platform reached 9.5 million in the first quarter.
  • The quarterly figure is a surge from 1.7 million cryptocurrency customers in the final quarter of 2020.
  • Robinhood’s update highlights the fast-growing popularity of digital assets.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Trading app Robinhood said 9.5 million customers traded cryptocurrency during the first quarter of 2021, soaring from 1.7 million crypto traders on the platform in the last quarter of 2020.

Robinhood shared the figure in a blog post on Thursday in which it highlighted its Robinhood Crypto platform that it launched in 2018. “This year in particular has been a big one,” it said about activity in 2021.

There’s been a pickup this year in the number of financial institutions and other companies saying they will allow their customers to use or to gain access to cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology that backs them. Investment bank Goldman Sachs is looking into ways to support their clients’ desire to own cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, CEO David Solomon said Tuesday in a CNBC “Squawk Box” interview. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk last month said the electric vehicle maker will accept bitcoin as payment.

Robinhood said its customers have access to seven tradable coins including bitcoin, dogecoin and ethereum.

“The prospect of an open and decentralized global financial system, one where everyone can have access to financial services, strongly aligned with Robinhood’s mission–so democratizing cryptocurrency trading felt like a natural next step,” said Robinhood.

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Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel warns bitcoin might serve as a Chinese financial weapon against the US – and says it threatens the dollar

Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel.

Peter Thiel, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capitalists, suggested bitcoin could pose a threat to the US during a virtual seminar held by the Richard Nixon Foundation this week.

“Even though I’m a pro-crypto, pro-bitcoin maximalist person, I do wonder whether at this point bitcoin should also be thought of in part as a Chinese financial weapon against the US,” the PayPal cofounder said. “It threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the US dollar and China wants to do things to weaken it.”

Thiel, a Facebook board member and cofounder of Palantir Technologies, was expanding on his discussion about China not liking that the US dollar is the world’s preferred reserve currency. He said if China has a long position on bitcoin, then the US should be seeking answers on its stance from a geopolitical perspective.

The Asian economy recently created its own digital currency – a cyber yuan that is controlled by its central bank. Thiel referred to it as a “totalitarian measuring device,” rather than a real cryptocurrency.

The tech billionaire, who publicly supported former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was joined by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien at the seminar. Their discussion, hosted by the Nixon Foundation’s chief executive, largely focused on big tech issues and US-China relations.

Thiel, known for his controversial views, also criticized Google and Apple for working too closely with China. He called out Google for its work on artificial intelligence, saying that the tech giant was effectively working with the Chinese military, and not the American military, according to a transcript of the event seen by CNBC.

He separately called for tighter scrutiny on Apple “because the whole iPhone supply chain gets made from China.”

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Sacramento Kings players and staff will soon be able to get their salary paid in bitcoin, the NBA team’s owner reportedly said

Buddy Hield and DaQuan Jeffries of the Sacramento Kings.
Buddy Hield and DaQuan Jeffries of the Sacramento Kings.

  • All staff at the Sacramento Kings will be able to get paid in bitcoin, the NBA team’s owner reportedly said Monday.
  • The team has accepted bitcoin for merchandise and ticket purchases since 2014.
  • “They can get paid as much of their salary in bitcoin as they want, including the players,” Vivek Ranadiv√© said, per reports.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

All staff at NBA team the Sacramento Kings, including players, will soon be able to receive their salary in bitcoin, club owner Vivek Ranadivé announced on Clubhouse Monday evening, per numerous reports.

“I’m going to announce in the next few days that I’m going to offer everyone in the Kings organization, they can get paid as much of their salary in bitcoin as they want, including the players,” Ranadiv√© said, according to a tweet by Neil Jacobs, who regularly moderates bitcoin discussions on the platform.

Jason Brett confirmed the announcement in an article for Forbes.

The Kings did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for the comment.

Since 2014, the team has accepted bitcoin for merchandise and tickets – at the time, it said it was the first professional sports team to make the move.

In recent months, other big companies have started accepting the cryptocurrency as payment. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in March that Tesla would accept bitcoin for car purchases – a week later, crypto startup Bakkt launched an app letting customers pay with bitcoin at Starbucks, Choice Hotels, and Best Buy.

Read more: NFL player Taylor Rapp is launching an NFT collection to fight anti-Asian hate. A chief investment officer breaks down why NFTs are ‘psychological assets’ that could surge when a large network of people assigns value to them.

Other companies have started one-off bitcoin marketing campaigns. Fast-food chain Chipotle gave out $100,000 in bitcoin as a part of a “Burritos or Bitcoin” game on Thursday, which it said made it the first US restaurant to give away bitcoin.

Bitcoin has soared in 2021, reaching an all-time high of more than $60,000 in March.

But the currency is very volatile, and crypto exchange founder Bobby Lee told Insider’s Harry Robertson that investors should be more aware of the asset’s history of bubbles and dramatic price crashes.

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