Robinhood explains app outages

Commission-free stock trading firm Robinhood has blamed outages this week on “unprecedented loads” experienced on the app.

Responding to user ire at being offline during Monday and Wednesday, co-chief executives Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev wrote that the situation was “not acceptable” and the team has been evaluating and addressing the issue.

“We worked as quickly as possible to restore service, but it took us a while – too long,” read a statement. “We now understand the cause of the outage was stress on our infrastructure - which struggled with unprecedented load - that in turn led to a ‘thundering herd effect – triggering a failure of our DNS system.”

Multiple factors contributed to the unprecedented load that ultimately led to the outages – including highly volatile and historic market conditions, record volume and record account sign-ups.

Robinhood’s leadership promised that it was continuing with work to improve the resilience of its infrastructure to meet the heightened load, while simultaneously working to reduce interdependencies in overall infrastructure, and investing in additional redundancies.

The US-based FinTech, valued last year at $7.6 billion, promised to provide compensation for all of its Robinhood Gold premium subscription members – offering them three months of free service.

A month of Robinhood Gold costs $5 plus five per cent yearly interest on borrowing above $1,000, charged daily. Before a pricing change, the flat fee per month could range as high as $200. However, compensated users will only get the $5 off per month, for a total of $15.

The investment platform is set to launch in the UK this year, after receiving authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority, with stocks and cash held by Robinhood Securities.

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