Optimally Climbing The Robinhood Cash Management Waitlist

Optimally Climbing The Robinhood Cash Management Waitlist

*When* you tap matters

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Since writing this article, Robinhood?s bugs and fiduciary missteps are becoming more apparent. A 20 year old in my state committed suicide this week after an erroneous display of a $700,000 debt in his Robinhood account. They, of course, did not have a support line robust enough to clarify this, and given their adolescent platform with risky encouragement and a dev team more focused on new features than fixing bugs, someone thought their life was ruined. Checking back in on the platform, the financial details placed forefront for companies are childish and uninformative to any legitimate investor. This is not a broker anymore. It is a casino. I cannot recommend Robinhood to anyone, but I will keep this article up for the mathematical quirk it covers.


If you have not heard of Robinhood, the commission-free online brokerage, this article means nothing to you. If you have heard of Robinhood and use it, I?m sure you are well aware they are adding a cash management service by the end of this year. They tried to launch in last year, but that was stopped by the SIPC due to some missteps in the branding.

Nevertheless, it?s back, along with its enormous waitlist of over half a million people. However, there are no ways to climb by refering friends anymore. Just pure, cold, hard, taps. Every day, you can tap up to 1,000 times, each tap advancing you one spot in the waitlist. It?s a fun little ?game? to keep everyone engaged on the hype train.

I signed up incredibly early on accident by opening the app one morning and seeing the new menu. The newsletter came out an hour or so later. Since I?m at the front, I?ve been focused on keeping my spot, and through it, I?ve found an interesting mathematics problem. If you?re the on the waitlist yourself, I suggest you follow along.

How Much A Tap Is Worth

I, just like any other math nerd, wanted to optimize the way I tapped to climb the waitlist. My impression, when I attempted to quantify the structure was this:

  1. Every person gets 1,000 taps.
  2. If every person uses all 1,000 taps per day, no one advances in line.
  3. The only way to move up in line is by tapping more than the users around you in line.

This seemed to make sense. Each tap was like a push forward. If everyone is diligent and gets pushed the same, no one moves. Then, a few days in, after reaching 1st place and then receding backwards, I wondered how I could have possibly lost ground. I used all 1,000 taps.

My hypothesis was that whoever coded the event did not have the tap counter exclude the taps at 1st place which don?t advance you forward. This must have been the reason.

Which is why I kept it a secret and didn?t tell support. No one could know the truth.

How Much A Tap Is Actually Worth

This seemed to work for a while, inching up to first place and carefully stopping there. Let a few people go ahead again, and then make sure to use all taps before the day ends. Then, a week later, I noticed I had fallen again. How? What could possibly have happened? I used all of my taps. I didn?t push forward after 1st place. They didn?t allow friend referrals.

That was when I decided to draw the problem out.

Suppose instead of 500,000 people in line, we instead have 3 in this respective order.

  1. Person A
  2. Person B
  3. Person C

Each person gets 10 ?taps?. Suppose B taps. Then A taps. Then B taps. Then A taps. What are we left with?

  1. Person A
  2. Person B
  3. Person C

Well, that seems useless. No one moved. But, THAT?S THE POINT. What are the taps remaining for the day?

Person A = 8

Person B = 8

Person C = 10

Now, with these taps remaining, suppose C taps twice. Our order becomes:

  1. Person C
  2. Person A
  3. Person B

And they are all on equal footing for taps. C has advanced in line despite everyone using an equal number of taps. What gives?

Instead of thinking as a tap as a force that pushes everyone forward, think of it as an opportunity to switch two spots. Every time you pushed yourself forward, you have pulled someone back. If two people get into a tap war for a spot, they are just flip-flopping their places without either one advancing forward. Meanwhile, their supply of daily taps drains.

What To Do About It

Tap at the end of the day. Wait until it?s close to midnight Eastern Time, and then tap to your heart?s delight. What you have done is let everyone in that 1,000 person gap above you do is duke ought these small battles for spots that only drain their taps. Don?t tap in the morning. Don?t tap in the middle of the day. You?ll just fall into the same trap.

Or you could just not worry about it since they?ll roll out the service to everyone as fast as possible.


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