German online bank N26 rushes to launch crypto trading in 2022

German online bank N26 has revealed plans to launch a crypto trading service this year and add stock brokerage later, reported FinancialTimes.

The bank, which is among Europe’s biggest fintechs with a valuation of over $7.8 billion, has made the short-sighted decision to focus on global expansion, at the cost of prioritizing new services , admitted the co-founder and co-CEO of N26, Max Tayenthal. .

The co-founder admits

“Should we have built trading and crypto instead of launching in the US? In hindsight, it could have been a good idea,” admitted the co-founder and co-CEO of N26. FinancialTimes in an interview.

According to Tayenthal, in recent months the bank has realized that it “has become extremely dispersed”.

“There are so many things we can work on instead of putting up flags in new markets,” he said, revealing the bank’s plans to recalibrate its strategy and focus on service diversification.

The day after N26’s decision to Close its operations in the United States, Tayenthal acknowledged how the bank’s rapid geographic expansion has put the development of other services, including crypto and catering to the retail boom in equity trading, back burner.

“We really want to expand our product universe and we have to,” Tayenthal added, noting that N26, which offers current accounts to seven million customers in 24 countries, plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading business this year, followed by stock brokerage. .

Under fire from the German financial regulator

German financial regulator Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) order measures to limit the growth of N26, forcing the bank which accepted an average of 170,000 new customers per month last year to strengthen its anti-money laundering controls.

According to Tayenthal, BaFin’s cap, which limited onboarding to 50,000 new customers per month, was “a massive restriction” for N26 which was funded by “growth investors” and saw itself as a fast-growing company.

“There is a lot of confidence (among investors) in our ability to remove these growth restrictions again,” Tayenthal said, adding that he is confident that the cap can be lifted entirely by the end of the year. summer.

“We have a plan. We understand what needs to be done and we are capable of executing,” he concluded.

According to Tayenthal, the group will be ready for a stock exchange listing by the end of the year, but the decision has yet to be made.

“The question is always: When is the right time? Do you want to go public when you still have a lot of money in the accounts from last year’s fundraiser,” he commented.

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David A. Albanese