Robinhood CEO holds up crypto exchanges as model for faster stock settlement

During a webinar on Tuesday, the CEOs of  Robinhood and Paxos juggled ideas for speeding up stock settlement times.

Robinhood’s Vlad Tenev has been in the public spotlight since wild volatility in meme-driven stocks like GameStop and AMC pushed the popular stock trading app into the public eye earlier this year. At the time, he appeared before Congress advocating for T+0, or same-day clearing and settlement on trading. 

“Recently, it went to T+2. You kind of look at the platonic ideal of what settlement is, and you have to assume it’s going to be instantaneous,” Tenev said.

Paxos CEO Charles Cascarilla agreed with Tenev that trading doesn’t need to be this way. “We’ve reached the end of this old way of operating. That’s what GameStop showed us,” Cascarilla said. “Frankly, we know how to fix this, just like we know how to fix the problems with our tunnels and rail systems. We just have to do it.”

Tenev pointed to cryptocurrency exchanges as an example of places successfully running same-day settlement already. “I think there are asset classes that essentially operate like this. Cryptocurrency markets, for example, where there is fiat-to-crypto settlement happening in these ad hoc batches.”

Paxos currently runs a T+0 settlement platform that puts securities on a blockchain. That platform operates under restricted parameters and an SEC no-action letter. 

Robinhood, meanwhile, has seen a spike in users buying crypto. Those crypto purchases, however, remain heavily custodial, with users unable to move coins off of the platform and into their own wallets. The firm is trying to change that.

“We’ve been staffing the crypto team pretty tremendously. We’ve committed to doing this. We want to deliver wallets to people,” said Tenev. 


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