Skip to navigationSkip to content

Robinhood joins the list of spectacular financial technology failures

Vlad Tenev, co-founder and co-CEO of investing app Robinhood, speaks during the TechCrunch Disrupt event in Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., May 10, 2016.
Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev.
By John Detrixhe
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Robinhood, a brokerage app, was beset by outages for a second day as trading volumes soared. The disruptions come as the platform is tested by swift customer growth and heavy market turmoil.

The malfunctions put Robinhood out of service during the US trading day yesterday and part of today before service was restored. Prices have gyrated and buying and selling has soared amid concern that Covid-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, is spreading. Late last year the Menlo Park-based company said it had 10 million users, up from 6 million accounts in October 2018.

Technology outages are costly for customers and embarrassing for the executives responsible for them. Robinhood is far from alone:

  • 2019: Chime, a digital-only bank, has an outage affecting millions of customers
  • 2013: Goldman Sachs computers send about 16,000 mis-priced options orders
  • 2012: Nasdaq fumbles Facebook’s IPO when a computer matching system goes into a loop

Technology disruptions get a lot more notice when money is involved. A Twitter handle created yesterday named “Robinhood Class Action” already had more than 6,000 followers today.

“When it comes to your money, issues like this are not acceptable” Robinhood said today on Twitter. “If you’re a customer, we’re sending you info on how to contact us so we can work with you directly to address your concerns.”

This story has been updated to include Chime’s outage in 2019.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.