An Uber Co-Founder and an E Trade Vet have teamed up to launch a zero fee cryptocurrency trading platform called Voyager that, if successful, could be a staunch competitor of Coinbase, Robinhood and a growing number of other platforms to become the venue of choice for retail investors.
Voyager’s goal is to capitalize on the fragmentation in the global cryptocurrency spot market. Instead of operating as a traditional crypto exchange, Voyager will act as a routing engine for other exchanges, aiding investors in buying and selling 15 cryptocurrencies at the best available prices without the hassle of having to open dozens of accounts before making a trade.
Like Robinhood, the wildly popular stock trading app that started cryptocurrency trading earlier this year, Voyager will not charge commission on these trades. Instead, CEO Stephen Ehrlich said in an interview with Fortune, the firm will profit from the spread between the price quoted to traders and the price at which the underlying trade is actually settled.
“We saw an opportunity to build a dynamic smart order router that can take advantage of the marketplace and also offer customers no commissions,” said Ehrlich, who was a former executive at electronic brokerage firm E Trade and the founder of Lightspeed Financial. “Sometimes you go to trade on a certain exchange, but there’s no liquidity there.” (Source: CCN, “Uber co-founder and E Trade vet Launch zero-fee crypto trading platform”)
Oscar Salazar, who co-founded Uber, while serving as the ride sharing apps first chief technology officer, said he is helping to oversee the development of the routing engine as Voyager’s lead tech adviser.
Voyager just recently entered into Beta testing, and is speeding towards acquiring as many state-level licenses as possible, before formally launching in October. Currently, Voyager has gained approval to operate in about 5 states, with many applications still pending in states like NY, who have complex regulatory frameworks, which has led many other exchanges to skip getting licensed their altogether.
Voyager still has a lot of work to do if it wants to be successful in October. Although Coinbase charges commission fees on trades, they already have a massively large user base, along with industry recognition. While Robinhood, and to a smaller extent Square, whose cash app currently supports Bitcoin trading- is a newcomer to the crypto world, however, it has a built in user base through its core stock brokerage platform along with a head start on regulatory approvals. Ehlrich however, believes in Voyager and is not concerned about being the “new kid on the block” in an ever expanding industry.
“We don’t think crypto has been adopted yet by the masses in the United States,” he concluded. “I believe the market space itself is extremely large…We think the opportunity for both retail and institutional is vast, and we want to be part of that, and help the industry grow, and be good citizens to the industry, and help people get more knowledgeable in crypto assets.”
Well said, looking forward to Voyager’s launch and seeing what kind of mark they will make in the crypto market.