Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank, a venerable institution with a 97-year history, is poised to make a significant foray into the cryptocurrency market.
According to a report by Ian Allison for CoinDesk, by the end of January 2024, the bank plans to roll out cryptocurrency trading services for its retail customers. This pioneering move will initially be available in Vienna, the bank’s headquarters, and will be facilitated through a partnership with Bitpanda.
Bitpanda is a cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage based in Vienna, Austria. It was founded in 2014 and has since become one of the leading cryptocurrency platforms in Europe, with over 4 million users. Bitpanda allows users to buy, sell, and trade a range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP, among others. It also offers a range of other services, including a digital wallet, a debit card, and a savings plan for cryptocurrencies.
The service launch is targeted at Vienna, home to about a quarter of Austria’s population. Customers will access the service via their mobile devices, using the Raiffeisen app to enter Bitpanda’s platform. The trading experience is designed to be intuitive and familiar, mirroring the simplicity and security of traditional account-to-account bank transfers.
Raiffeisen Bank boasts substantial assets of $215 billion and serves 17.8 million customers across the European Union and Eastern Europe.
The bank’s move into crypto trading is a notable indicator of increasing crypto adoption, especially in regions where regulatory clarity is evolving.
Curt Chadha, the bank’s head of innovation, highlighted that the service caters to digitally savvy customers interested in making modest investments in cryptocurrency. This approach contrasts with other banks that target wealthier individuals for substantial crypto investments.
Bitpanda, founded in Vienna in 2014, plays a crucial role in this partnership. The exchange is regulated by the FMA in Austria and BaFin in Germany, ensuring compliance with financial regulations. Bitpanda enables regulated trading, investment, and custody services across various assets, including stocks/ETFs, cryptocurrencies, precious metals, and commodities.
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