Bitpanda today announced it has now been granted the Crypto Custody and Proprietary Trading license for crypto assets from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).
The BaFin-issued license for crypto assets is based on the new licensing regime introduced by the German financial watchdog in January 2020 and is considered the most comprehensive license of its type in Germany.
The move comes amid a stark reaction from regulators worldwide to the swift collapse of crypto exchange FTX. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the U.S. Department of Justice have, for example, all stepped in to launch investigations into Sam Bankman-Fried’s fallen empire.
The meteoric rise of the Bahama-based FTX, which was launched in 2019 and reached a valuation of a staggering $32 billion in January this year, and its spectacular fall earlier this month sent waves of shock across the industry, with crypto contagion claiming more and more high-profile victims each week.
Speaking to Decrypt about what the FTX collapse could mean for the crypto scene in Europe, VP of growth at Austria-based crypto trading firm Bitpanda Magdalena Hoerhager said she is hopeful that this will be “a wake-up call for our industry that also shakes up who you can trust with your money.”
According to the Bitpanda exec, “there are definitely some Wild West players among crypto trading platforms that try to circumvent regulation by any means to grow fast,” but “growth on steroids is never good.”
“Our industry is suffering, but this crisis is extremely painful. The reputation of the entire industry is now under fire, and platforms are currently being scrutinized,” Hoerhager told Decrypt.
She went on to say that “there is a real crisis of trust and confidence” from the crypto investor perspective, which “also implies that many investors more than ever are now looking for a regulated, secure European platform.”
Bitpanda secures German crypto license
For Bitpanda, which last year became Austria’s first unicorn with a valuation of $4.1 billion and says it has nearly 4 million customers, securing the Bafin-issued license means is now able to actively offer its services in Germany while creating a safe and fully regulated environment for crypto investment.
We are the first European retail Investment platform to receive the full Crypto Custody and Proprietary Trading licence from the German regulator BaFin. pic.twitter.com/eTjiM7BLTM
— Bitpanda (@bitpanda) November 22, 2022
According to Hoerhager, Bitpanda originally applied for a BaFin license roughly 18 months ago and has worked closely with the German regulator since then to ensure that the firm becomes the first European retail investment platform to meet BaFin’s strict regulatory requirements.
“We want to give our customers a safe, secure and simple way to invest. That means being regulated, and it means a strict separation of customer and company assets, which is sadly not the case everywhere these days,” Bitpanda CEO Eric Demuth said in a statement shared with Decrypt.
In addition to the BaFin license, the Bitpanda Group is also either registered with financial regulators or granted licenses in Austria, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and the Czech Republic, while also being able to provide custody services in the United Kingdom.
“As the investment platform with the most licenses in Europe, we can and will now prove once again that we are serious about making customer security a top priority at Bitpanda,” Hoerhager told Decrypt.