Robinhood's top crypto exec is leaving

Robinhood's top crypto executive is departing after nearly five years with the California-based brokerage app company, according to people familiar with the situation.

Christine Brown, who joined the company from Google in 2017, has overseen its crypto business as the chief operating officer for crypto.

According to one source, Brown is starting a crypto startup, though the identity of that startup isn't immediately known. Robinhood confirmed Brown’s plans to leave the firm. 

“We’re so grateful to Christine for her contributions to Robinhood over the past five years - from leading our self-clearing initiative to scaling the Robinhood Crypto team. We’re excited to follow her entrepreneurial journey going forward,” said Robinhood chief operating officer Gretchen Howard in a statement shared with The Block.


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Robinhood began offering crypto services in 2018, and though the crypto product suite helped the company onboard new users, the strength of that activity waned in the last quarter of 2021. As previously reported by The Block, crypto saw a mild decline as a percentage of Robinhood’s overall transaction-based revenue. Crypto made up 18.18% of the firm's transaction-based revenue, down from 19.1% the previous quarter.

Unlike other companies that offer exchange services, Robinhood has been slow to add more coins to its platform, while rival Coinbase has said that it will accelerate listings on its platform. 

Still, Robinhood is looking to grow its crypto offerings in 2022 and rolled out a beta program for its wallet functionality, which allows users to move coins in and out of Robinhood’s platform. The firm said in its Q4 earnings report that it expected to fully launch wallets by the end of the first quarter. 

Robinhood plans to focus on the international expansion of its crypto offerings.

“Robinhood has set aggressive goals to start opening its crypto platform up to customers internationally in 2022,” the firm said. “The company believes in the immense potential of the crypto economy and sees a big opportunity in serving customers across the globe.”

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Frank Chaparro is the Editor At Large at The Block. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. He runs his own podcast The Scoop and writes a biweekly eponymous newsletter. He leads special projects, including The Block's flagship podcast, The Scoop. Prior to The Block, he held roles at Business Insider, NPR, and Nasdaq. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].