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Robinhood has made stock trading fun, cheap and attractive to young people who aren’t rich – not the crowds that the financial industry typically caters to.

But the app also has a track record of serious types of errors, and if the investment feels like a game it won’t be good for people’s wallets.

Ahead of Robinhood’s (extremely unusual) initial public offering fur planned for this week, my colleague Erin Griffith talked to me about the ups and downs of the app and how the company fits into the economic technological revolution.

Sheera: Let’s start by explaining why Robinhood is paying so much attention.

Erin: Robinhood has disrupted things that have come to the forefront of Silicon Valley. Many start-ups aim for this, but few have really pulled it off. The company made stock trading as easy as playing Candy Crush. This made deals free, and it brought a lot of young people into stock investing. Other bro online brokers such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity and e-Trade have been forced to change over the years.

But in the same way that people are discussing the trade-offs of companies like Google and Facebook, people are also pointing out that Robinhood has created a dangerous downside.

What’s that downside?

Robinhood can make users feel more like an investment account than a video game or casino, and it can sometimes force inexperienced investors to take big risks, especially when doing one type of business borrowing money. Investment managers Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger recently discussed Robinhood, with Munger calling it “under contempt” and “a lazy, vague operation.”

Robinhood also makes more money when its users trade more, but a lot of research has shown that such behavior does not yield the best investment return. (The company’s financial documents state that the “vast majority” of its customers do not fit into the definition of “day traders”, who fire a lot faster.)

Business investors can also be reckless, and what they do is obscured by gambling. There is only criticism of Robinhood Elite attitude Or can’t most people be trusted to invest their own money?

Robinhood believes the company’s founder found evidence in a letter of condemnation written to potential IPO investors. But even those who follow the company have questioned whether Robinhood’s enthusiasm for development and shaking up the system has led to serious mistakes.

What kind of mistakes?

The application has crashed at some crucial moments. It recently paid a developed amount to a self-regulatory body of the securities industry for that and other errors, including not doing enough to verify customers, which were not appropriate for a kind of high-risk trade.

Last year, a young man killed himself after a misunderstanding that led him to believe he was in a hole of more than 700,000 from Robinhood, and he could not reach the company that he would be fired. A traditional broker would not have allowed such investments without guidance or it would have been easier for the client to get help.

You wrote that we are inside A golden age for new types of financial companies Payments include start-up leases and semi-automated financial advisors, including Robinhood. What’s going on?

Many people want something other than large, traditional financial institutions, but they do not have many good or reliable options. When Simple, one of the first mobile banking companies, crashed all the time, the trend almost a decade ago was like this: this happens when your bank has only one application.

Fast forward a few years and now the technical building blocks for new financial companies have become more solid, and the trust between the people and the regulators is about to increase. It’s great for people to make more choices for banking and finance, but again there is business.

Many of these companies have repeatedly struggled with outages, static accounts, hacks and other big issues. Traditional financial institutions have many problems, but without shelter they are unlikely to get you out of your money.


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