Robinhood, the free stock trading app popular among millennials, is being used to let internet strangers invest $US50,000 of real money.
Using Twitch, the Amazon-owned video game streaming site, a software developer has set up a live stream of his Robinhood portfolio. Viewers of the live stream vote on which stocks to buy and sell and the moves with the most votes are executed automatically through Robinhood.
It’s the first time a developer has used public crowdsourcing to run a Robinhood investment account, according to Robinhood spokesman Jack Randall. The ability to invest algorithmically is not a new feature and some users are already using an integration with Quantopian to invest algorithmically, according to Randall.
In its first day of trading, the Robinhood account fell .01%, according to Michael Roberts, the Amazon software developer who set up the stream and technology behind it. Most markets fell by a similar amount that day. The fund owned shares of Tesla, Apple, Coke and The Cheesecake Factory, among others. It still held around $US30,000 in cash after it’s the first day of trading.
Roberts says his motivation for setting up the stream came from watching similar Twitch streams, like Twitch Plays Pokemon. But he wanted there to be real world results from the actions of his viewers.
“I have enough income and and savings from my job that losing a bunch to run this experiment was not the end of the world,” Roberts said in an email. “I actually don’t have much experience in investing or portfolio management at all.”
The stream took six months to set up and plans to continue running until it dips below $US25,000, which would make it non-compliant with FINRA regulations for day traders.
“Still unsure what will happen long term, but after the first day, I’m actually more optimistic than I originally was,” Roberts said. “Only time will tell though – we’ll see if how long this lasts!”