The timing is ideal for the European Bitpanda, established in France since May 2020. The global democratization of crypto-actives is driving the company’s growth. And thanks to AMF approval, Bitpanda is growing rapidly in France.
Bitcoin, locomotive or scarecrow? Probably a little bit of both. Cryptomoney is criticized for being eminently speculative in nature. However, the BTC is also helping to accelerate the democratization of crypto-actives.
And it is not the European actor Bitpanda who will complain about it. Founded in Austria in 2014 and already profitable, it now employs 320 employees and has 1.8 million users. As for its European development, it is accelerating.
In France, the adoption of digital assets is accelerating
Last September, the company raised $52 million in Series A to support its international expansion. A few months earlier, in May, Bitpanda established itself in France. And since last December, it can boast the AMF approval.
With operations in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Turkey and Italy, Bitpanda is now planning to enter new markets. Its objective remains unchanged: to democratize investment. And crypto-actives are now a means to achieve this.
However, the « neo-broker » also offers on its platform to invest in precious metals (gold, silver, platinum and palladium), in addition to about fifty cryptomoney funds. And the latter undeniably represent an undeniable growth lever at present, particularly in France.
The country was not, however, a forerunner in terms of adoption when the company started up last May. « Adoption was lower than in other European countries such as Spain, for example, » notes Bitpanda’s French director, Giulia Mazzolini.
« Today, there are three times as many new users on the platform every day compared to last year, » she adds. For the director, this reflects a growing interest, which is taking advantage of the « global conditions of the cryptomoney markets. »
An AMF « trust buffer » for clients
For Giulia Mazzolini, this is due to increased confidence in these digital assets. For its activity in France, Bitpanda would also benefit from its AMF approval, a « confidence buffer » for customers.
This procedure favours the registration of new users, but also an increase in transaction volumes, » says the boss of the company crypto. However, the climate of confidence is more general.
« This industry used to be more restricted to individual investors who were familiar with cryptosystems. Now, there is growing interest from institutional investors, which is contributing to mass adoption, » comments Giulia Mazzolini.
And this trend is particularly noticeable among Bitpanda’s user base, which is very diverse in terms of profiles. As such, the company advocates a platform designed from the outset to meet the needs of a population of investment product novices.
The user spectrum thus ranges « from the student who is just starting to invest to the banker who is already very comfortable with investing. « And cryptomoney is also attracting a growing proportion of women. This trend is global, as evidenced, for example, by a study by Grayscale.
Leveraging payments to drive mass adoption of crypto
On the other hand, crypto-actives remain mainly investment-oriented, especially in the long term on Bitpanda, which also offers savings products. However, the use of crypto as a means of payment, even in everyday life, could increase significantly in 2021.
Several multinational payment companies, such as PayPal and Mastercard, are entering this market or plan to do so this year. In addition, new generations of bank cards are being developed to further democratize these uses.
At the end of January, Bitpanda announced its Visa debit card. Pre-ordered, it can be activated in France from the end of February. And this card is a response to a demand from the company’s users, » says its manager.
This card thus makes it possible to spend the assets in the wallet. And beware, unlike some of its competitors, it is not « a prepaid card. It is directly linked to the Bitpanda portfolio. It allows you to spend any asset, whether it is cryptography, precious metals or fiat currency. »
To work, the map is managed from the Bitpanda application. The user can thus assign any of his assets to his card payments. « The aim is to make spending easier and to have access to our assets 24 hours a day, » explains Giulia Mazzolini, who also points out that no fees are charged on the card.
A « positive » European regulatory framework
It can be used at any Visa-capable point of sale and can be used to pay for any day-to-day expenses. For Bitpanda, this type of service will directly contribute to the mass adoption of digital assets.
But couldn’t regulation curb this ambition? The CEO welcomes the efforts made over the last 12 months at the European level to establish a regulatory framework. « While many see it as a brake, I see it as a positive one, » she says.
Of course, compliance is « a huge and additional work », at a significant cost. However, harmonising regulation across Europe is an opportunity and a source of simplification.
« In the long term, it will create a lot of confidence », both for individuals and institutions. « This will legitimize the place of cryptomoney in the investment world », anticipates the Director of France.
However, compliance will not be Bitpanda’s only or even its main focus in 2021. The company is looking beyond crypto-actives alone and aims to become a global investment platform. It will thus launch digital actions as of this year, on all its markets, but at a date that is still undefined.