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Proving me kind of wrong, Robinhood will allow users to withdraw and deposit crypto

Nothing is set in stone yet. This is just a thing a company is saying, not doing.

dogecoin on robinhood
Image: KnowTechie

Yesterday I wrote, supposed, and surmised that it would be a frozen day in the fire-licked pits of hell (in not so many words) when Robinhood would release to users the very thing that would enable users to claim actual ownership of their cryptocurrency holdings wallet keys.

Well, a few hours after publishing (and without really researching if anyone else had written anything similar recently), Robinhood announced in a series of tweets that it would, in fact, be allowing users to withdraw (or deposit) crypto assets.

Robinhood also added that it doesn’t “currently invest in cryptocurrency or use any customer cryptocurrency for its own benefit.” I slapped the beehive, and the bees squirted some honey in my direction. That’s how it works, right? Whatever, I’m not a bug scientist.

There are some caveats here, mostly found within the specific messaging Robinhood used to make this announcement. While it addresses one sliver of an aspect of my earlier criticism (being able to have more control over our crypto held at Robinhood), it doesn’t specifically say that users will regain control of the wallet keys. Either Robinhood hasn’t gotten that far in the planning, or that’s not part of the plan.

Based on the language in the tweets, the implication appears to be that Robinhood creates wallets for its users when they invest in one of the seven available (BTC, DOGE, ETH, LTC, ETC, BCH, BSV). Robinhood then becomes our controlling older brother, offering to “let me hold on to that for you” until we’re responsible enough (in its estimation) to hold it ourselves. Well, we’re ready. Give us our wallet keys.

The skepticism about Robinhood’s holdings of our wallet keys doesn’t end at my messy desk

Elon Musk has also chimed in lately, supporting the claim that Robinhood itself (by virtue of holding all our wallet keys) is the biggest Dogecoin whale. Yesterday, Elon replied to a tweet that called for more transparency from Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev. Considering the billions of dollars floating around in cryptocurrency (and Elon’s own investment), it’s probably time for a bit more openness about what goes on with the wallet keys that should belong to us.

To its credit, Robinhood claims on its FAQ page that while it holds the wallet keys, the users own the crypto. But again, not your keys, not your Bitcoin. So take that for what it’s worth.

At this moment in time, this half-hearted reply by Robinhood would normally pique some optimism within the crypto-trading community as it pertains to platforms like this. Still, we’re very skeptical considering the scars of the very recent past. Regardless of the reasons, Robinhood was not prepared for the volatile behavior of investors surrounding Elon’s Doge tweets and Gamestop, halting trading in both at different points. If we owned our wallet keys, we could have continued to trade, on a different platform if need be.

Plus, nothing is set in stone yet. This is just a thing a company is saying, not doing. Sure, it’s irrational to expect an immediate change in the platform, but you’d have to think that it wouldn’t have made that announcement without at least putting the project in front of the development team. When can we expect these changes? Who knows. When can we expect our wallet keys? Yesterday, the answer would have been never, but today it seems more likely that in order to allow withdraws of crypto, Robinhood is going to have to provide us our wallet keys.

It’d be advantageous for Robinhood to perhaps set up an exchange like Atomic Wallet, a decentralized, secure, anonymous platform that partners with exchanges to buy and sell. Robinhood could easily turn itself into a one-stop-shop. But at this point, would we trust it? Would we just grab our crypto and run to the closest platform that has the grace to allow us actual control of our wallet keys? Probably.

Whatever happens, just remember that money isn’t real, nothing matters, and we’re all careening toward death regardless. Sure, it’d be nice to get rich off crypto along the way, but we’ll need our wallet keys for that.

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