Austrian cryptocurrency broker Bitpanda has raised $170 million in a Series B funding round led by Valar Ventures, boosting its total valuation to $1.2 billion, according to a press release shared with Decrypt today.
James Fitzgerald, founding partner of Valar Ventures, noted that the pandemic had boosted interest in personal finance. "Bitpanda’s broad offer and commitment to demystifying investing for a new breed of retail investors means it is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the trend," said Fitzgerald in the release.
Bitpanda co-founder and CEO Eric Demuth added that the company has plans in place to bring its offer to new markets. "Our goal is [...] to help people build the confidence and knowledge to be in charge of their financial future," said Demuth. Per the release, Bitpanda also plans to offer its customers "an even more diverse range of digital assets" as well as fractional shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which will go live in April.
ETFs are a type of security that comprise various baskets of assets, shares of which can be listed and traded on exchanges. In the case of a Bitcoin ETF, the underlying asset is the cryptocurrency. Crypto ETFs allow institutional investors to get exposure to digital assets without actually buying or holding the asset in question.
However, there are no crypto-based ETFs in the US; to date, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has turned down all such proposals presented to it. Canada, however, already has three; the Purpose Bitcoin ETF, Evolve Funds Group's EBIT, and the newly-launched CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF.
What is Bitpanda?
Bitpanda is a so-called “neobroker” that helps retail customers to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Apart from Austria, the company is also present in France, Spain, Turkey, Italy, and Poland—with plans to expand to Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, and Berlin.
Valar Ventures is backed by Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies, and Founders Fund. Other participants in the funding round included Yuri Milner’s DST Global and several other undisclosed entities.