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Europe’s $9 billion digital bank N26 launches crypto trading service amid bear market
European digital bank N26 announced Thursday it is launching a crypto trading service, starting with Austria as the first market for the product.
The service, called N26 Crypto, is set to become available to N26′s Austrian clients in the coming weeks and will initially include 100 tokens including bitcoin and ether. N26 plans to roll out the feature to users in other markets over the next six months and eventually expand its token offering to include a total 194 coins.
Gilles BianRosa, N26′s chief product officer, told CNBC the bank’s crypto brokerage feature allows users to “dip their toes into the water in a way that’s not frothy.”
To make a trade, users select a coin and specify how much they want to buy or sell. Once they complete their order, cash is deducted from their main account balance and appears alongside the token of their choice. Customers can also “drag and drop” funds from their main account into their crypto portfolio, or vice versa, N26 said.
N26′s crypto foray could have been better timed. Bitcoin and other tokens are deep in the red this year after investors fled the market due to fears over higher interest rates and liquidity constraints. While main street banks have steered clear of crypto due to concerns over its sharp volatility and involvement in fraud, N26 — which holds an EU banking license — is dipping its toes into the space out of the belief that it’s more than “just a fad.”
N26 is charging a 2.5% fee on buy and sell orders for all cryptocurrencies — other than bitcoin, which it offers at a reduced transaction fee of 1.5%. For subscribers to its paid Metal accounts, which cost 16.90 euros ($16.54) a month, the transaction fee is 1% on bitcoin and 2% for all other tokens.
Notably, N26′s crypto service doesn’t include support for custodial wallets, meaning customers are unable to move their assets off the platform. Platforms like Robinhood and Revolut have introduced features giving users more control over their crypto assets lately.
N26 is one of Europe’s largest fintechs, scoring a $9 billion valuation in its most recent financing round last year. Like other fintechs, however, the firm is losing money. N26 racked up net losses of 172.4 million euros ($168.8 million) in 2021, a 14% increase from the year before.