- Public.com will now allow over one million retail investors to buy, sell, and hold bitcoin.
- The neobroker founded in 2019 will add BTC and nine other cryptocurrencies to the list of investment vehicles offerings, adding to U.S. stocks and ETFs.
- It is unclear how the bitcoin custody will work for investors, but the feature won’t likely allow withdrawals, effectively functioning as an IOU.
Public.com, the investing platform operated by Public Holdings Inc., is rolling out bitcoin trading to its more than one million customers, The Wall Street Journal reported. The retail investors that utilize the platform are now able to get indirect bitcoin exposure in addition to trading U.S. stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Cryptocurrencies have “really attracted a new generation of investors to it as an asset class,” Stephen Sikes, chief operating officer of Public.com, said. “We also think…there is some validity to including crypto within a broadly diversified portfolio.”
The new feature will be rolled out gradually, starting October 7, to most Public.com users who will now be able to buy, sell, and hold bitcoin and nine other cryptocurrencies. But New York residents won’t be eligible to enjoy the new feature at first because the firm’s servicing partner “doesn’t have the required license in the state yet,” per WSJ.
Public.com launched in 2019, offering individual investors the opportunity to trade U.S. stocks and ETFs, unlike competing major retail investor platform Robinhood that provides customers with options and margin trading vehicles.
Another aspect that differentiates the competing companies is participation in payment for order flow — a common practice of brokerage firms to “route customer orders to high-speed trading firms in return for payments,” according to the report. Payment for order flow allows brokers to offer commission-free trading but encourages high-frequency trading to maximize revenues.
Public.com includes social features on its platform that bring investors together in sharing ideas and following each other. MaryAlexa Divver, director of product at Public.com, told WSJ that the investing platform would also provide customers with educational content on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.