Whether it has been the crypto winter or the bear market, both the large crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN -2.88%) and the popular online retail brokerage Robinhood (HOOD 3.65%) have had a rough go of it in 2022. Coinbase's stock is down more than 73% this year, and Robinhood has seen its shares fall over 49%. Both businesses are struggling, as tough market conditions have frustrated retail investors and slowed investment activity, which is vital to these companies and their business models. But which has held up better this year amid the turbulence? Let's take a look.

Looking at the numbers

Although Robinhood largely helps retail investors purchase equities (along with a solid and growing crypto business) and Coinbase sells only cryptocurrencies, the two are similar given that they both offer platforms helping mostly retail traders buy and sell assets. Therefore, their businesses can be evaluated using similar metrics. Here's a look at how some select figures have held up at each company between the fourth quarter of 2021 and Q2 of this year, starting with Robinhood. 

Metric Q4 2021 Q1 2022 Q2 2022
Monthly active users (millions) 17.3 15.9 14
Assets under custody (billions) $98 $93 $64
Marketing spend (millions) $44 $34 $24
Revenue (millions) $363 $299 $318
Adjusted EBITDA (millions) ($87) ($143) ($80)

Data source: Robinhood financial statements.

As you can see, Robinhood saw a big drop in assets under custody in the second quarter but also narrowed its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) loss. The company has been losing monthly active users but has cut marketing expenses by $20 million over the last three quarters. Now, here is how Coinbase compares.

Metric Q4 2021 Q1 2022 Q2 2022
Monthly transacting users (millions) 11.2 9.2 9
Assets on platform (billions) $278 $256 $96
Marketing spend (millions) $244.6 $200.2 $140.9
Revenue (millions) $2,490 $1,165 $803
Adjusted EBITDA (millions) $1,205 $20 ($151)

Data source: Coinbase financial statements.

Since the end of 2021, Coinbase has lost fewer monthly users than Robinhood and both companies have reduced their marketing spend by more than 42%, taking a step back while investor sentiment is weak. Coinbase's assets have fallen much more than Robinhood's in the second quarter but that's really because of the massive decline in crypto prices. In terms of revenue, Robinhood has held up much better and also seems to be trending in a more positive direction when it comes to adjusted EBITDA.

Who has fared better?

Although Coinbase had way more revenue and adjusted EBITDA than Robinhood in the fourth quarter of 2021, Robinhood made solid improvements in Q2 of this year, while Coinbase saw further deterioration. Robinhood has lost more users but not to a massive extent.

Furthermore, looking at the back half of the year, it appears that Robinhood is going to perform better. CEO Vlad Tenev said on the company's second-quarter earnings call that it still has a goal of being adjusted EBITDA positive by the end of the year as it looks to trim expenses and grow revenue.

Meanwhile, Coinbase's CFO, Alesia Haas, said on the second-quarter earnings call that the company is "working hard to operate within the $500 million Adjusted EBITDA loss guardrail we communicated for 2022." Considering Coinbase has generated a $131 million adjusted EBITDA loss through the first half of the year, Haas' statement suggests the back half could very well look worse than the first.

Given all of this information, I believe Robinhood has been able to fare better in the bear market than Coinbase has in the crypto winter, and it looks like it will continue this way for the rest of 2022, barring some huge rebound in crypto prices.