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SoFi: Startup Naming the Future Home of LA Rams Goes Crypto

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The startup that will have its name on the future stadium of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers is getting into cryptocurrency trading.

That company, the San Francisco-based firm Social Finance, announced on September 25th that it had rolled out cryptocurrency investing functionalities on its SoFi Invest platform. The starting trading pairs three of the cryptoeconomy’s most high-profile projects in bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), and litecoin (LTC).

SoFi

In the mainstream, the startup has already made a name for itself for becoming an increasingly popular provider of student loan refinancing and personal loans: its SoFi Invest app, which is based around automated investing, already boasts nearly one million members, and the wider SoFi corporation pulled in more than $500 million USD in revenue last year.

Now, the outfit has widened its already growing purview by turning its attention to the cryptocurrency space. The pivot was the result of rising demand from its users, the firm’s chief executive officer Anthony Noto explained on Wednesday:

“Feedback from our members has made it clear that a significant percentage are not only interested in learning more about cryptocurrencies but are also already buying and selling crypto. We’re very pleased to be adding this new product to SoFi Invest, as access, education, and keeping costs low for our members is at the heart of what we do.”

SoFi Brand Is No Slouch

Never heard of SoFi before?

You’re likely to start hearing about them a lot more in the coming years, so the startup’s leap into the cryptocurrency ecosystem should help steadily introduce further attention to the space — at least if the company’s recent rising specter in the mainstream eye is any indication.

It comes down to big backers and big moves. For instance, back in the spring the company’s latest fundraising round was headlined by the Qatar Investment Authority and brought in a hearty $500 million. The company had previously raised a separate $500 million in February 2017.

SoFi has put that freshly renewed war chest to practical use in trying to maximize the clout of its financial services. This month, the company reached a blockbuster deal with the Rams and Chargers franchises to receive the naming rights for the coming “SoFi Stadium” in Inglewood, California. The price tag? A cool $30 million per year for 20 years.

Notably, that deal marks the biggest sponsorship naming deal in sports history to date. The $5 billion SoFi Stadium, which will open in the summer of 2020, will thus home two of the NFL’s most lucrative teams and is also set to be the most expensive built yet in the league. The venue will host the high-profile Super Bowl LVI festivities in 2022.

These dynamics will introduce new users to SoFi Invest, which in turn could introduce newcomers to BTC, ETH, LTC, and beyond. Like the opening of cryptocurrency trading on Robinhood, SoFi’s pivot to crypto opens another mainstream gateway. So don’t expect an immediate flood, but the move is definitely a start on the adoption front.

SoFi Going for Millennials

Looking at its arena, SoFi is trying to edge out lending competitors like Affirm, CommonBond, and Figure in winning over millennial clients.

As such, the company’s addition of cryptocurrency investing to SoFi Invest is absolutely part of its effort to entice younger generations of users to give their services a try. Whether that strategy will be enough for SoFi to decisively pull ahead of the competition remains to be seen. What is clear is that the startup thought pivoting toward cryptocurrencies was an opportunity worth taking.

Moreover, their offerings will soon widen, as SoFi said on Wednesday that “more cryptocurrencies […] be added in the coming months.”



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William M. Peaster is a professional writer and editor who specializes in the Ethereum, Dai, and Bitcoin beats in the cryptoeconomy. He's appeared in Blockonomi, Binance Academy, Bitsonline, and more. He enjoys tracking smart contracts, DAOs, dApps, and the Lightning Network. He's learning Solidity, too! Contact him on Telegram at @wmpeaster

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