Robinhood to scrap confetti animation on app after 'gamification' criticism

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The Robinhood App is displayed on a screen in this photo illustration January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Illustration

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March 31 (Reuters) - Robinhood Markets Inc will discard its signature confetti animation that used to mark first trades for users on its trading app, following criticism from politicians and regulators.

Starting next week, users will see new features marking milestone moments, including first-time money deposits, first investments or for sign-ups for Robinhood Gold, its premium membership offering, the online brokerage said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The move comes weeks after Robinhood's digital confetti animation was criticized on the grounds that the company was "gamifying" investing.

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The Silicon Valley unicorn startup, which was at the heart of the historic retail trading frenzy earlier this year, is currently being probed by U.S. regulators for imposing temporary trading curbs on so-called "meme stocks".

During a congressional hearing in February, Robinhood's co-founder, Vlad Tenev, pushed back against criticism of the "meme" stock frenzy from investor Warren Buffett's longtime partner, Charlie Munger, who compared it to betting on horse races.

During the Feb. 18 hearing, lawmakers slammed what they called the firm's "gamification" of stock trading on mobile phones through things such as virtual confetti celebration following a big trade.

"We don't believe in gamification," Tenev had said at the time.

Robinhood's platform allows users to make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, exchange-traded funds, options and cryptocurrencies.

Earlier this month, the company confidentially filed paperwork with regulators for an initial public offering in the United States.

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Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru;

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