An Uber co-founder and an E*Trade veteran have teamed up to launch commission-free cryptocurrency trading service that, if successful, could see the firm challenge Coinbase, Robinhood, and a growing number of other competitors to become the venue of choice for retail investors.
The platform, named Voyager, aims to capitalize on the fragmentation in the global cryptocurrency spot market. Rather than operating as a traditional centralized exchange, Voyager will serve as a routing engine for other exchanges, helping investors buy and sell 15 cryptocurrencies at the best available prices without having to open dozens of accounts and shop around before making a trade. The news was first reported by Fortune.
Like Robinhood, the widely-popular stock trading app that began rolling out cryptocurrency trading earlier this year, Voyager will not charge commission on these trades. Rather, 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, 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."
One of Ehrlich's co-founders, Oscar Salazar, co-founded Uber and served as the ride-hailing app's first chief technology officer. At Voyager, he is helping oversee the development of the routing engine as the platform's lead tech advisor.