FinancialNewsMedia.com News Commentary
PALM BEACH, Fla., June 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Retail investors are a force to be reckoned with. They have flocked to investing since the start of the pandemic and, just like the professionals, they need somewhere to get their investing fix. This article discusses this issue with reference to Robinhood (NASDAQ: HOOD), CME Group (NASDAQ: CME), Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) and WonderFi Technologies (OTCPK: WONDF) (TSX: WNDR).
These are some of the platforms which are indispensable for the planet's growing crop of investors.
Their relationship with retail investors is almost reminiscent of the merchants of the gold rush era who made their fortunes by selling picks and shovels to eager miners. However, retail investors are trying to unearth gold in a much more figurative way, without being faced with quite the same levels of physical exertion.
The Rise of Retail
The rise of retail investors has been catalyzed by the phenomenon of so-called armchair trading. With stock trading possibilities literally at their fingertips, it has never been easier for retail investors to get in on the action of Wall Street.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a clear influence here. Data from The Charles Schwab Corp and analysis from S&P Global examining 2021 indicates that retail investor trading spiked in the early months of the pandemic and had still not returned to pre-pandemic levels at the end of the year.
Indeed, the NASDAQ reported in February 2022 that from March 2020, market-wide volumes increased by around 60% compared to those seen prior to the coronavirus pandemic. It specifically cited the rise and improvement of app-based trading platforms as a catalyst behind this explosion in trading.
Though high inflation has hit some stocks very hard, it seems it has hardly blunted investors' enthusiasm. Analysis from Vanda Research released in May 2022 indicated that retail investors' sentiment had remained "resilient" and that there had only been a slight dip in activity compared to 2021 when markets were far healthier.
WonderFi: Under One Roof
Canada's WonderFi Technologies (OTCMKTS: WONDF) (TSX: WNDR) is a firm seeking to appeal to retail investors through its cryptocurrency trading platform, but also through what it offers alongside.
That's because the company provides several web 3.0 services besides crypto trading all under the same roof. These include everything from decentralized finance apps to wallets and blockchain gaming.
The idea is to unify the fragmented world of web 3.0, offering users the convenience of accessing all the functionality they need through a single point of access. Without ideas like this, it's a simple fact that people who are keen to get involved with cryptocurrency, digital assets and DeFi often have no choice but to make a lot of different accounts. They will likely have accounts on a multitude of different exchanges, applications and wallets.
In short, retail investors can find trying to get involved with web 3.0 will encounter some major headaches. WonderFi is seeking to solve that problem by making as accommodating an atmosphere as possible.
As such, it offers users access to regulated crypto trading through BitBuy, which is one of Canada's largest exchanges. This is a centralized offering with high security and liquidity.
The WonderFi app also offers users access to a platform containing DeFi solutions across the same unified landscape. This is made as simple as possible by WonderFi Connect, which combines users' social identity with their on-chain wallet identity through one login flow.
Finally, there's a space for NFTs and gaming in the form of WonderFi Interactive, which has already attracted more than 200,000 users. Through this avenue, the company has the chance to explore the possibilities offered by play-to-earn gaming and digital collectibles.
The functionality being added to WonderFi's network is growing too, with the company having snapped up several significant acquisitions in recent months.
WonderFi has acquired BitBuy, which is Canada's largest approved cryptocurrency exchange and one of the fastest-growing crypto platforms. The acquisition brought BitBuy's over 400,000 registered users and $455m of assets under custody into the WonderFi ecosystem.
Even more recently, WonderFi announced that subject to shareholder approval, it had purchased CoinBerry, another licensed Canadian platform. This acquisition brings a further 220,000 registered users into the fold.
Plenty of Platforms
Robinhood (NASDAQ: HOOD) is a trading platform that has secured a huge chunk of the US retail investment market, with 37% of the US market in the company's corner in June 2021 according to Statista.
The company has carved out this space for itself by offering commission-free trading on the mobile app it released back in 2015, a move that has endeared the company to the growing community of retail investors.
However, the platform has also invoked the ire of its community on occasion, notably causing controversy when it opted to restrict the trading of certain stocks in the wake of the infamous GameStop short squeeze back in February 2021.
Though retail investment has been heavily in focus here, it's worth remembering that not all trading platforms are for the man or woman on the street. CME Group (NASDAQ: CME) specializes in futures and options and is aimed squarely at professional investors.
Even so, professional investors need user-friendly apps and technology as much as the rest of us. Accordingly, CME offers a free app that includes features such as quotes, economic research and insight tools, while on-the-go trading is available with its CME Direct Mobile offering.
Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) is something a little different too. The platform has been one of the players that helped bring the crypto revolution to casual retail investors through its website and mobile app.
Recently, the company enjoyed a great influx of users after its distinctive Super Bowl commercial, which encourage viewers to scan a QR code on the screen and rewarded them with $15-worth of free Bitcoin if they proceeded to make an account.
The company is not the top dog in this arena though. Data from June 2022 gathered by Statista indicates that Coinbase is the tenth largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world based on daily volume, though it was the highest performing publicly
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