Fintech startup Circle has opened up early access to its new cryptocurrency investing app, providing most US customers with instant, commission-free cryptoasset trading.
On Tuesday, the Goldman Sachs-backed company sent emails to users who had participated in Circle Invest’s beta testing program, informing them that it had released version 1.0.1 of the mobile brokerage platform, which is available on both Apple and Android.
Circle Invest — whose tagline is “crypto without the cryptic” — provides retail investors with exposure to Circle Trade, the company’s high-volume institutional trading desk. Unlike institutional buyers, however, Circle Invest users can purchase as invest as little as $1. The company does not charge commission for the service, although it says the spread between buy and sell orders is approximately one percent.
At launch, the app supports Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ethereum Classic (ETC), and the company’s website says that “more are on the way.”
Investors can purchase cryptocurrencies instantly, but users who abuse this feature by making purchases with insufficient funds in their linked checking accounts will have their ability to make instant buys revoked.
All user assets are stored offline in cold storage, and the platform does not currently support cryptocurrency deposits or withdrawals.
Due to regional differences in money transmission regulations, the app is not currently available in Minnesota, Hawaii, New York, or Wyoming, though Circle says it is working on becoming available in New York “very soon” and recently-passed legislation in Wyoming may allow it to soon enter this jurisdiction as well.
Circle is the latest fintech heavyweight to add cryptocurrency functionality to its product line. Stock investing app Robinhood recently added cryptocurrency trading to its brokerage platform, although this feature is currently only available in five states. Square, meanwhile, offers Bitcoin trading to most US Cash App users and — unlike the current implementations of the other two apps — allows users to withdraw their coins after performing AML/KYC verification.
Each of these companies looks to supplant industry giant Coinbase for preeminence in the lucrative first-time buyer market. Historically, this demographic has been dominated by the San Francisco-based firm, which was almost universally considered to be the most convenient place to onboard into the cryptocurrency ecosystem just a few months ago.
Google search data indicates that public interest in cryptocurrency investing is at a relative low-point. but these three platforms promise to give Coinbase a run for its money once the next bull market begins.