Commonstock is incredibly new: it’s been available to the public less than a year. This startup seeks to bring the knowledge of top investors to the general public and has tons of potential to become the primary gathering place for investors of all skill levels. One of the most social investing apps out there, do we think this app will take off and end up being a great place to learn how to invest? Or should you skip it for more popular social investing options like Public and eToro?
Find out here.
- Founded in 2017, released to the public mid-2020.
- Founder: David McDonough
- Tradable assets: None. Users link their brokerage accounts to see the investments of others, but do not actually make the trades on the app. Stock and cryptocurrency trades are seen.
- Available anywhere.
- Fees: none.
- Mobile and web availability
Commonstock was founded with one simple idea: make financial literacy more accessible to everyone, particularly those who are just starting out. Instead of creating a broker with a social feature on the side, Commonstock is essentially social media for investing. Follow investors to see what they’re trading and how they split their portfolio among assets. Users only see the percentage of portfolios, not the actual dollar values, that individuals have invested in various stocks.
A leaderboard shows the top investors by percent returned. Users can follow various investors to see their trades and posts. There are also focused group chats users can create and join.
One of the most unique features of Commonstock are the detailed analyses investors put onto the home page. These posts share investor insights into various companies and moves they plan to make. Many of these posts read more like in-depth analyses than simple social media updates, and can be incredibly beneficial to new investors trying to get their feet on the ground.
In a post written by founder David McDonough, he discussed how the stock market is exploding with new users. “This rapid growth is only good if it’s accompanied by an equal explosion of quality knowledge and responsible behavior,” he wrote. The Commonstock team has “hand-verified” a group of investors who are considered experts or semi-experts. These experts have a blue commonstock logo next to their name, which resembles the famous blue check on Twitter and Instagram. It doesn’t matter how much these investors have in their portfolios—the verification is simply a way for new users to see who is a real, active person with opinions that are based on something of substance. According to McDonough, these investors “set the tone” for the app as it grows.
Image: A screenshot of the Commonstock web platform. This new social media app for investors has a memo/posts section as well as a leaderboard section. Users can see what investors are talking about and then see how their percent returns are. Users do not actually make trades on the app—they just connect their broker to it. Image from commonstock.com.
Social Investing Without the Investing
Commonstock differs from platforms like Public, Robinhood, and Webull in that it is purely a social and educational tool. Instead of trying to do everything at once, Commonstock is a platform for getting investment ideas and sharing information, no matter which platform you use to make your trades.
While many apps have social feeds, group chats, and data, the information is limited to people who actually use the app for their trades. With Commonstock, anyone can link their brokerage account and interact on the app, bringing together investors from anywhere.
Follow the Leaderboard
One of the central features of Commonstock is the investor leaderboard. Users can see which investors are getting the best returns and then follow them to keep up with stock trades. The leaderboard can be filtered by “global” or “followers.” It can also be adjusted based on percent returned over different time periods: one week, one month, three months, one year, or all time. The founder himself is an active investor and can be discovered on this leaderboard!
Once a user gains 30 followers, their “follower assets” are displayed. According to the app, the follower assets are 100% anonymous and are the “total portfolio value of everyone following you.” This is a way for users to see which investors are getting the best following and is a mark of reputation. For example, founder David McDonough’s followers have $376.5 M total assets.
If an investor is getting better returns, it is easier for users to discover them because they will show up higher on leaderboards. This is one of the ways Commonstock emphasizes “quality, not quantity” because it’s all about percent returned, not dollar value made.
Image: No matter where you make your trades, you can use Commonstock. The app does not show the dollar values in your portfolio—it just shows the percentages of your portfolio that you put into various assets. It doesn’t matter how much money you’re working with: your percentages are what reflect your trading ability. Image from commonstock.com.
The section of the home page called Trending is where users can see which stocks are being bought most. Cryptocurrency is included in this data. It shows the percentage of users who own the stock. For example, if 12% of Commonstock users have some money in Ethereum, it will show 12% next to ETH.
It is unclear, however, exactly how this data is calculated. The app and website don’t specify if the 12% is the amount of users who currently have ETH, or the percentage of users who have bought ETH at some point in their investing career. As the company grows, we believe these sections will become more detailed and offer more clarity.
New Features Coming
Because the app is in such early stages, there are still features getting worked out and bugs being fixed. For example, under the Trending tab, there is a section called Sentiments that still says “coming soon.” The Like Dollar Value is also coming soon—this feature seems to be the average portfolio value of everyone who has liked an investors’ post, but it is still unclear. There are also some glitches and bugs reported by users on the app store.
One interesting feature is that users can make their accounts private. This is great for security, but seems to be a hindrance when scrolling through the Leaderboard, as many users either aren’t sharing their portfolios (meaning they haven’t linked it) or are listed as private.
It is also interesting that users link their twitter accounts to the page. We wonder if this drives some of the conversation to Twitter rather than Commonstock itself, or if it’s just a method to verify individuals in such a new app.
Image: Investor portfolios are the key feature of Commonstock. This is a screenshot of David McDonough’s portfolio: McDonough founded Commonstock in 2017. His portfolio growth and top holdings are displayed. Image from the Commonstock app.
Discover New Stocks
The Discover section on the app shows the following: today’s top market movers, today’s most bought on Commonstock, today’s most sold on Commonstock, and top memos. Under the top market movers, it shows the percentage the stock increased over the course of the day.
The Most Bought and Most Sold sections have percentages of how many people on the app have bought or sold that stock. It also shows a list of the longest holders and investors you follow.
Upon scrolling down, users see a list of investors gaining in popularity, top performing investors that week, investors with the best content (unclear how this is determined, but is possibly related to posts and memos), and most talked about assets.
The more investors who join this app, the more value these sections will have. Currently, however, the app is so new that some of the data is heavily skewed.
Image: The Investor Leaderboard shows the investors getting the highest percent return across the app. Dollar values are never shown. Image from commonstock.com.
Who It’s For
Commonstock works in conjunction with any investor’s broker. Because investors link their brokerage account, they can choose which platform they want to make their trades on, and then use Commonstock for gaining knowledge and connecting with other investors. We like that the social feed brings in users from any and all platforms, so the data and social feeds are not limited to investors making trades on one specific platform.
Beginning to advanced investors can benefit from Commonstock. Beginners can learn from other investors, follow them, and read their posts. Advanced investors can do the same, since the information people post about is cutting-edge and advanced enough for investors of any skill level to find useful.
The app is still very new and is working out various bugs and glitches, so users have to be willing to ride the wave as issues are sorted out. With more funding and more users, the app should be able to work out these problems.
We believe that Commonstock is a great app to use in conjunction with your broker. Instead of getting lost in the messy financial debates of Twitter and Reddit, users can engage in informed, academic conversation about the markets on Commonstock.
The app is very new, however, so users are still making their way to it. Currently, you might not get as much good information as you could in the future if the app takes off and sees lots of investors flock to it.
We like that Commonstock brings information to everyone: there are no barriers to entry, and users can see exactly where successful investors are putting their money. Commonstock really is a great tool for investors of any skill level.
Image: Group chats are another key feature of the app. Learn how to trade and invest by talking with others and learning from their portfolios. Image from commonstock.com.
What is Commonstock?
Commonstock is a social networking app for investors. Individuals do not make trades on the app—instead, they link their brokerage account and share the percentage of their portfolio they have invested in each stock, not the dollar value. Investors can make posts, follow other users, have discussions about the markets, and create group chats. The app is a layer that sits on top of your broker, not a broker itself. Commonstock aims to help users learn the markets and gain knowledge from other experienced investors.
Is Commonstock legit?
Yes, Commonstock is a legitimate app that can truly help investors of any skill level make better trades. Users don’t make actual trades on the app—they just link their brokerage account. The dollar value of your portfolio is not shown. Instead, percentages of portfolios are used.
Do people see how much money I have in Commonstock?
No, Commonstock does not show dollar values of users’ profiles. Instead, other users see the percentage you have invested in each stock.
Is Commonstock a broker?
No, investors do not make trades on the Commonstock platform. Instead, users link their brokerage accounts and see the percentages people have invested in various stocks, make posts, chat in group chats, and learn from other investors.
Who can use Commonstock?
Anyone can sign up for Commonstock. Because it’s more like a social network than a broker, it is not restricted by country.
Is Commonstock safe?
Yes, Commonstock is a safe and secure app. According to their website, they encrypt all user data and frequently go through independent audits.
Is Commonstock better than Public?
Commonstock and Public are similar apps in that they both have social-media-style feeds, but Commonstock is only a social media feed and Public has social and trading features. Commonstock connects to your broker and brings traders from different brokers into one place to talk about investing, while Public users can only interact with other Public users on the app. We recommend trying both and seeing which one works better for you. If you don’t already use Public as a broker and don’t want to switch your trading platforms, Commonstock could be a great option.
How do you get verified on Commonstock?
According to their founder, Commonstock “hand-picks” investors to verify as experts. This is to help drive the conversation toward a more academic realm and ensures new users can find individuals with well-researched, sound opinions on the markets.
Can I see crypto trades on Commonstock?
Yes, Commonstock shows both crypto and stock trades.