Dogecoin deserves more credit for bringing people into crypto: Ex-Robinhood Exec

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In short

  • Christine Brown, formerly COO of Robinhood Crypto, said Decrypt that Dogecoin helped buyers overcome the “emotional barrier” of cryptocurrency.
  • Brown, now COO and co-founder of startup NFT Floor, appeared on the latest episode of Decrypt’s gm podcast.

When even cryptocurrency Dogecoin skyrocketed early last year from less than a penny to a high above $0.73, the crypto and stock trading app was one of the biggest beneficiaries – DOGE alone accounted for 34% of Robinhood’s crypto revenue in Q1 2021.

But the Dogecoin boom eventually went bankrupt, with the long-running coin now down 92% from its peak price set in May 2021. And Robinhood, which had aware of the risks associated with such a volatile asset, has been criticized for being a key destination for dog-themed jokey crypto trading.

Christine Brown was Robinhood Crypto’s first COO from April 2021 until last march, and previously vice president of product operations at the fintech startup. In a recent appearance on Decryptthe gm podcastshe discussed what she sees as the broader benefits of Dogecoin’s rise.

“Dogecoin had a moment last year on Robinhood’s platform,” Brown said. Decrypt. “And a lot of people were like, ‘It’s a meme coin. Why support him? Why exchange it? This is a bad thing for crypto in general.

“I actually think he’s gotten a bad rap,” she continued, “and in many ways he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for helping those on board in the space.”

Brown, now COO of the startup NFT Floor, highlighted three barriers to crypto entry: economics, education, and emotion. Buying crypto requires money, of course, and there is risk associated with any cryptocurrency, especially volatile meme coins.

In terms of education, onboarding remains one of the biggest challenges in the crypto space, especially when it comes to managing crypto assets in a self-custody wallet. Robinhood, much like Coinbase or FTX exchanges, is an accessible way to start trading without deep tech knowledge. Brown said education will be an ongoing part of mainstream crypto.

“Some of it is going to be informational, and some of it is going to be incorporated into products that evolve in this space over time,” she said, “where you’re actually lowering the barrier to entry of an educational point of view, because it is managed from a product perspective.

Ultimately, Brown believes the “emotional barrier” is the “big one” of the three, as potential investors can be held back by questions about whether they can truly understand the space and should handle crypto. Dogecoin, in his view, has added layers of fun and accessibility to help alleviate these concerns for some buyers.

“Dogecoin, at the time, made it easy for people to say, ‘Yeah, this is for me. It’s a coin with a dog on it, and I can start with $1, and I can just try it. and see what happens and dip my toe in and go from there.

Brown’s new startup, Floor, is focused on NFT collectibles. Prospective members can purchase an NFT as a platform access pass, which allows users to view all of their NFT holdings and see rating changes. Floor recently raised $8 million in seed funding, and plans to eventually offer features that are not token-locked.

Just as Dogecoin helped introduce the world of crypto to a new audience, Brown believes NFTs can do the same. An NFT functions as proof of ownership of an item, and popular use cases include digital assets such as artwork, collectibles, and video game items.

There is rampant speculation surrounding certain token collectibles, which has prompted the sale of some NFTs in the tens of millions of dollars, but they can also serve a purpose, such as serving as a community pass, event ticket, or bill of sale for a physical item. The wide range of potential use cases could make it another accessible gateway to crypto, Brown said.

“I think in many ways NFTs are that,” she said, “but on a much bigger and grander level because it has more use cases beyond just financial speculation.

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