Robinhood expands crypto trading to more-regulated European Union

(Reuters) -Robinhood Markets launched cryptocurrency trading for European Union customers on Thursday, expanding into a market with greater regulatory clarity at a time when cryptocurrency companies face intense scrutiny in the United States.

The company will allow EU clients to trade more than 25 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ethereum, commission-free.

"The EU has developed one of the world's most comprehensive policies for regulating crypto assets, which is why we chose the region to anchor Robinhood Crypto's international expansion plans," the company said in a blog post.

In May, the region unveiled the world's first comprehensive set of rules to regulate crypto assets, prompting industry executives to hail the EU as the next frontier for expansion.

Meanwhile, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has cracked down on crypto companies such as Coinbase Global and Binance, even as it lost a high-profile case against Grayscale.

Robinhood's expansion will also help it capitalize on a resurgence of investor interest in the digital asset space.

Optimism over the imminent approval of a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund has lifted the price of bitcoin to its highest level since early last year.

To gain ground in the market, the California-based company will offer EU customers up to one free bitcoin when they sign up and one more for every successful referral.

Robinhood has also sought to address fears of theft, one of the most common concerns among cryptocurrency investors, through a crime insurance policy, underwritten by Lloyd's.

It will cover a portion of assets held in Robinhood's storage systems, the company said.

The company's entry into the EU comes just a week after it launched share trading for UK clients. Bloomberg News was the first to report on the EU expansion.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant, Gnaneshwar Rajan and Baranjot Kaur in Bengaluru; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Arun Koyyur)

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