⚡ Crypto trading, the best growth marketing strategy to bootstrap / grow an audience in B2C Fintech⚡

Paxful Interview, Digital Remittances, Binance, BitGo, B2C2, SFOX, Bitbond, Elliptic raised $5m and Wintermute seed round!

Hi Everyone, Thank you for supporting the European crypto ecosystem 🇪🇺.

Thank you for all of those who came to the first Coinscrum Pro last week. We were overwhelmed by the interest from the institutional investor ecosystem. We had over 120 attendees of which 60% from the buy-side. We will share a report laster next week.

We already are planning the next two events in London and one in Switzetland. If you are interested in sponsorship or to give a keynote, Don’t hesitate to reach out!

Etienne Twitter, etienne@blockwyre.com)

ps: don’t hesitate to send me an email if you enjoy this newsletter, Always great to have feedback :) and Subscribe to

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💡Thank you NovitasFTCL for supporting the 🇪🇺 Ecosystem

We want to thank our partner NovitasFTCL, a leading boutique firm of corporate finance advisors to the European Financial Technology sector. 

Based in London, NovitasFTCL has 45+ years of combined experience in the FinTech sector and executed over 120 transactions across Europe including M&As and Fundraisings. 

Do not hesitate to contact me if you want an introduction. 

🕵️‍♂️Crypto trading is the best growth marketing strategy to bootstrap / grow an audience in the B2C Fintech investing ecosystem

  • If you want to build a successful Fintech company you basically have two choices. The first is to build a back-end solution that is a must-have for all front-end Fintech solutions like Plaid or ComplyAdvantage. Here, you sell the building blocks to build a neo-bank.

  • On the other hand, you can build a customer acquisition machine using the building blocks that are now available. However, the customer acquisition in Finance is known to be pretty high (c. $150 / user / new bank account). Hence, Fintech entrepreneurs are focusing on underbanked users or, in other words, the GenZ, Millenia and other unprofitable clients. The bet is that these clients will over time become highly profitable.

  • However, a great user customer strategy is to use crypto trading. You target profitable clients and do not compete with incumbents by offering a unique offering. Let’s look further.

  • The chart above lists the top 19 websites in the investing category ranked by the number of views. Fidelity.com is the most popular *in the world* in this category with 68.1m visits per month of which 98% are from the US!

  • For many Finance folks, none of these names are big surprises. However I would like to highlight two names TradingView and CoinMarketCap

    TradingView #7 is a social network for traders and investors on stock, futures and forex markets. They have about 57m monthly visits and an international user base with the largest country (the US) representing only 13% of their audience.

  • Their growth strategy was very smart: (i) Build something complicated and a must-have for any Fintech stock trading company, i.e. charting, (ii) offer charting for free and with a freemium model, (iii) build a social media platform for technical traders powered by their charting solution. (iv) Obtain world domination in the charting world by leveraging social and trading drivers.

  • It is also worth to note that TradingView was one of the best venture investment in crypto capital markets outside of Binance BNB. The company raised $3m back in 2015 and then raised $37m from Insight Partners, Jump and DRW in May 2018 at a 20x valuation. All of this without a Token!

    CoinMarketCap #18 is the most well-known cryptocurrency market cap ranking website. What’s very impressive is that the company was bootstrapped by a single founder. Today, it has 34m monthly visits and a huge international viewers base with the biggest market (the US) representing only 13%.

  • Let’s look at the rest of the list. What do you see? What does Binance, Etoro, Robinhood, Blockchain all have in common?

  • They all offer crypto / digital assets information and trading execution. In other words, crypto is the best growth marketing strategy to bootstrap / grow an audience in the B2C Fintech investing ecosystem. As crypto assets are (still) highly speculative assets with a high level of volatility, users are checking the price variation multiple times.

  • On the other hand, the incumbents financial investing players lack crypto information and trading capability. You can’t easily find the price of TRON on Fidelity. Hence, you check CoinMarketCap!

  • Most B2C Fintech companies success is only about distribution. Hence, their distribution success is highly improved if they offer a product that is not available by the incumbents. Crypto is perfect.

Cryptocurrencies could be Revolut’s Trojan Horse to get 100 million customers
  • Companies like Revolut, Robinhood, Square Cash and Etoro have all understood this. Let’s talk about Revolut

For Revolut, cryptocurrencies was the most viral product it has launched to-date. The impact of cryptocurrencies was enormous for Revolut and proved a huge hit with Revolut prospective users, resulting in a huge growth in user acquisition. Revolut’s valuation soared to $1.7 billion, three months after the company launched the crypto trading service and its user base has increased by 70% [source]

  • Beyond the simple price information, these Fintech companies have simplified the process of buying digital assets to a few clicks, whereas most crypto exchanges have a clunky user interface and a cumbersome on-boarding process.

Image result for coinbase user 2019
  • You may ask ‘where is Coinbase?’ Well, Coinbase would be ranked #21 in the investing ranking just before Binance. They are the poster child of ‘crypto driven growth user acquisition strategy’ with 30m+ users

  • In summary: If you have a neo-bank company and don’t offer crypto trading then you are missing out of the best growth user strategy.

  • /(la) fin

🐦 Tweets of the week

A great conversation by Boris from Copper!

and meanwhile Transak just launched its global fiat on/off ramp!

🤹 Startups News

  • Bitcoin and Entrepreneurial Philanthropy: A Q&A With Paxful CEO Ray Youssef - Great interview! [Source]

I haven't seen a place where [Bitcoin] can be practically used. If you're going to actually do something on the ground in these places, forget about the blockchain. People are not thinking about it. If you actually want to do something there, we learned you have to work with the instruments that people have there. 

  • The total transaction value of digital remittances, cross-border transfers made over the internet, has reached almost $95.96 billion in 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of more than 21% [Source]

    Digital Remittances Reach Record High of $96 Billion, Fees Charged by Traditional Providers Open Door for Cryptocurrencies
  • The National Bank of Egypt has signed a cooperation agreement with Ripple to establish new channels for inward remittances [Source]

🎁 Startups Product & Partnership

  • Binance Adds Russian Ruble to Its P2P Exchange. The P2P platform now supports three fiats - ruble, yuan, and dong. The P2P platform will allow Binance users to purchase services of Tether, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Binance Coin with the newly added fiat [Source]

  • California-based digital assets financial service firm BitGo is expanding its global presence by launching 2 new cryptocurrency custodial platforms in Switzerland and Germany. The new custodial companies are aimed at providing BitGo customers with more jurisdictions to choose from, depending on which is most suited for their business [Source]

  • B2C2, a London-based over-the-counter (OTC) market maker, is sharing its data and allowing transactions on the Los Angeles-based exchange aggregator SFOX. [Source]

  • Spanish soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona, or Barca, has teamed up with fintech platform Chiliz to create a blockchain-based token for the sports franchise [Source]

  • Munich-based Bank von der Heydt, established in 1754, had partnered with blockchain financial services provider Bitbond to help integrate tokenization into its established securitization platform. The partnership will allow the bank to tokenize digital securities onto the Stellar blockchain, which it can offer to institutional clients via private placements [Source]

🏦Regulations / Universities

  • The American government’s long-running war on privacy escalated this week following the arrest of Coin Ninja’s Larry Harmon on money laundering charges. A Department of Justice statement that “seeking to obscure virtual currency transactions in this way [using mixers] is a crime” means that bitcoiners risk prosecution simply for exercising their right to privacy [Source]

  • Two letter bombs exploded in the Netherlands on Wednesday and an anonymous criminal is asking for a Bitcoin payment to prevent future attacks, Dutch police say.  The first bomb went off at a postal sorting office in ABN Amro bank in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning. The letter bomb exploded moments after a mailroom worker tossed away the package. “The colleague who was sorting the mail heard a hissing sound, and threw the package away,” Mr. van der Varst said [Source]

  • The German regulator has warned against Nexo – Group, an entity which claims to offer foreign exchange (forex) and cryptocurrency trading. According to the regulator, the entity does not have the authority to do so in the country [Source]

  • Ukraine's Ministry of Digital Transformation has indicated it won't be creating regulations for the crypto mining sector [Source]

💰Fundings & M&A

  • Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest bank in the world, has set its eyes on the blockchain technology sector, making an investment into London-based cryptocurrency compliance firm Elliptic. This was reportedly done by Wells Fargo’s venture unit, to accelerate development of Elliptic’s product that helps banks to assess hundreds of crypto exchanges operating worldwide [Source]

  • Wintermute Trading, a United Kingdom-based algorithmic trading firm, has completed a seed funding round led by Blockchain.com’s venture arm Blockchain.com Ventures [Source]


About the author: Etienne used to head principal strategic investment (Companies, Funds and token investment) at Elwood, One of the largest European digital assets investment firm spun off of Brevan Howard, billion-dollar Macro Hedge fund. Previously, he was part of the founding team at the largest Capital Markets Venture Fund in London, Illuminate Financial

Who’s behind this? #27:AiX, UK (an artificial intelligence broker)

Coinscrum Institutional, AnyType Seed round, Clear backed by Fidelity, LBX shutting down and lots of regulation news

Hi Everyone, Thank you for supporting the European crypto ecosystem 🇪🇺.

A great interview, a reminder about our event on Tuesday, lots of regulatory and funding news.

Etienne Twitter, etienne@blockwyre.com)

ps: don’t hesitate to send me an email if you enjoy this newsletter, Always great to have feedback :) and Subscribe to


💡Thank you NovitasFTCL for supporting the 🇪🇺 Ecosystem

We want to thank our partner NovitasFTCL, a leading boutique firm of corporate finance advisors to the European Financial Technology sector. 

Based in London, NovitasFTCL has 45+ years of combined experience in the FinTech sector and executed over 120 transactions across Europe including M&As and Fundraisings. 

Do not hesitate to contact me if you want an introduction. 

🕵️‍♂️Who’s behind this? #27:AiX, UK (an artificial intelligence broker)

Hi, you founded AiX in 2017 as an artificial intelligence broker, using the power of AI and blockchain technology to give traders unprecedented insight and control. Can you share a bit about your background?

Hi Etienne, firstly, congratulations on the success of your weekly newsletter- keep up the good work. 

 I started my career in the IDB (Inter dealer broker) market and eventually launched my own IDB business called “Red Ops”, where I built a brand-new market in the commodity options space. I went on to sell the firm to a competitor in 2012 and began trading and investing in A.I. and big data startups. Around 2016 I realized the tech now existed to enable automating the inefficient voice IDB market and so I started AiX.

 I am now thrilled to be declaring AiX open for business. The team has created technology that is going to revolutionize the OTC markets and bring much needed disruption to the world of inter-dealer brokers.

How did you get into the bitcoin and blockchain industry?

I had originally planned on launching into commodity derivatives as that was my specialty, but whilst getting a proof of concept of the AiX platform built I began to explore the crypto markets in depth and realized 2 things — firstly that OTC crypto markets were identical to OTC commodity markets before the days of centralized clearing and secondly that the costs of transacting were exorbitant. I realized that we could have a much greater impact in bringing costs down in crypto by launching there, and so set my sights on that.

Tell us a bit more who is behind AiX? How big is your team? Are you hiring?

Continue to read the interview

🐦 Tweets of the week

Super excited to see the vetted attendees at Coinscrum Institutional! We had 300+ applicants… it is nuts. We are already planning the second event in March (London) and one in Switzerland. Email me if you are interested to learn more about Sponsorship and speaking opportunities…

For those those following my newsletter, you may remember that I wrote about InTrade few weeks ago. FTX are super smart to leverage upcoming US elections to grow user base, offer new product and make money. However, this is really something the regulator may come after them. Good luck!

Etienne@etiennexyz
If @FTX_Official is successful by leveraging future market to replicate the betting market they will eat the lunch of @Betfair and get PMF that @AugurProject has been looking for However, it is also going in deep water... see
eucrypto.substack.com/p/intrade-the-… https://t.co/kmiS1Fq5oS

SBF@SBF_Alameda

Fun fact: betfair has $15m of open interest on TRUMP and has been live for a year; FTX has $500k and has been live for a day. Pretty sure FTX has been the highest volume TRUMP market in the world today! https://t.co/q5wQXtaz7q

🤹 Startups News

  • $1B isn’t locked up in Defi,” weighed in crypto legal commenter Preston Byrne. “At least $300mm of that is in ether that early investors don’t want to sell and thereby incur the tax hit, if Dai proponents are to be believed. It’s the difference between saying “Jeff Bezos is worth $100bn” and saying “Jeff Bezos has $100bn in cash.” Defi doesn’t have $100BN locked in it, it has ether that early holders didn’t want to sell, the value of which is appreciating in the middle of a nascent bull market.” [Source]

Defi Market Surpasses $1 Billion – But There’s a Catch
  • Meawhile Bitcoin reached 500m transactions this week, after having reached the 250 million tx milestone in year 2017. Now, with a dual-month rally under its belt, Bitcoin has succeeded in writing off almost half of its 2019 losses. Bitcoin managed to surpass 368,604 daily transactions on February 5th. [Source]

🎁 Startups Product & Partnership

🏦Regulations / Universities

  • Switzerland has new cryptocurrency AML guidelines, as the authorities are evidently concerned about cryptocurrencies. The Swiss Financial Regulator’s new guidelines are interested in cryptocurrency transactions. Any transfer above ~$1,020 will be subject to additional verification [Source]

  • The leaders of six major central banks may hold a meeting in April in Washington, to discuss joint research on digital currencies. Representatives from the central banks of Europe, Japan, Canada, Sweden, Britain, and Switzerland will share their findings, to look at the potential creation of their own digital currencies [Source]

  • Young and small cryptocurrency businesses will pay lower registration fees than big companies, the United Kingdom’s financial watchdog has decided after consultations with members of the industry. The revised fee scheme takes into account the firms’ income to determine the amount they’ll be charged to cover supervision costs [Source]

💰Fundings & M&A

  • My friend Alex based in Berlin just announced its investment in AnyType. The first application using the open source technology is what Notion should be if it was built in 2020. Free, Private, Open Source, Accessible offline and with endless possibility to interact with distributed systems.

  • Fidelity’s venture capital arm - Eight Roads - led the funding, with participation from other major telecom companies in Clear. Giant telecommunications companies say they would particularly benefit from using this technology, likely due to frequent high volume transactions. As a reminder, Clear wants to build a blockchain for high-volume transaction systems like payments between telcos [Source]

  • The company formerly known as London Block Exchange (LBX), which faced a lawsuit from one of its creditors, is being liquidated. LBX launched in 2017 after raising more than £2 million (roughly $2.6 million USD) from investors. [Source]

  • Hg invested in smartTrade Technologies to accelerate its growth as a global leader in multi-asset electronic trading solutions. SmartTrade is a managed services and hosted software provider for trading desks and a global leader in this sector. Note, The new and fully integrated smartTrade solution captures and sends post-trade data to a private and permissioned Distributed Ledger. [Source]

  • PoolTogether DeFi App Announces $1M Investment After No-Loss Lottery Payout Tops $1K. The company is announcing a $1.05m investment round under a simple agreement for future equity. IDEO CoLab Ventures led the round; ConsenSys and DTC Capital also invested [Source]


About the author: Etienne used to head principal strategic investment (Companies, Funds and token investment) at Elwood, One of the largest European digital assets investment firm spun off of Brevan Howard, billion-dollar Macro Hedge fund. Previously, he was part of the founding team at the largest Capital Markets Venture Fund in London, Illuminate Financial.

Coinscrum Institutional Seminars on Feb 11th 2020 - London

NovitasFTCL, Ledger, Bitpanda, new hires at Gemini and Binance, Localcryptos.com, Julius Baer, Protonmail banned and much more

Hi Everyone, Thank you for supporting the European crypto ecosystem 🇪🇺.

If you are bored of digital assets, read my deep-dive on the vintage watch market. A $50bn+ primary market, $20bn secondary (growing 10%+ YoY) and a $4bn+ online market. There are loads of similarities between digital assets and vintage watch.

I am looking to connect with someone at Bitpanda. Let me know if you can help!

Etienne Twitter, etienne@blockwyre.com)

ps: don’t hesitate to send me an email if you enjoy this newsletter, Always great to have feedback :)


💡Thank you NovitasFTCL for supporting the 🇪🇺 Ecosystem

We want to thank our partner NovitasFTCL, a leading boutique firm of corporate finance advisors to the European Financial Technology sector. 

Based in London, NovitasFTCL has 45+ years of combined experience in the FinTech sector and executed over 120 transactions across Europe including M&As and Fundraisings. 

Do not hesitate to contact me if you want an introduction. 

🕵️‍♂️Coinscrum Institutional Seminars on Feb 11th - Key information

  • Few months ago, Paul and I had an idea to create a curated seminar series for institutional market participants.

  • The feedback from most of my former portfolio companies was that most day-long conferences feel somewhat like corporate tourism get-aways. Participants are here to enjoy a day off. No one really listen to the talks on stage (which are often very basic with no real content), no one really is able to meet new people and even if you do, you end up having five minutes chat and agree to meet another time. Not a great ROI.

  • Rather to start ‘another event series’, Coinscrum Institutional is focused on building a community. Every participant and every sponsor are vetted by Paul and myself. We want to keep the event within reasonable size so that people can meet others, listen to insightful presentations and do business. All in one evening.

  • We are about 10 days from the first event and we would like to thank all of our sponsors including Trustology, CryptoCompare, Mercury Digital Assets, Bitstamp, OKEX, LMAX Digital and an anonymous backer. Beyond sponsoring an event, you are making it possible to foster a community in London. Thank you!

  • We are also very excited in having Charles McGarraugh (Head of Institutional Markets at Blockchain.com), Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie (Founder & CEO at BCB Group), Richard Crook Founder at (LAB577 & Former Head of Emerging Tech at RBS), Cameron Dickie (Head of Sales EMEA) at B2C2 among our speakers!

  • Thank you for all the vetted participants joining us. We are also very impressed by the quality of attendees.

  • In terms of PR, we did very little marketing and are very much over-subscribed. Hence, it is very important that you applied and got a confirmation email. Otherwise, we won’t be able to welcome you.

  • We are already thinking about the next seminar later in March and other community-based events. If you are interested just email me. 2020 will be an exciting year!

  • / (la) fin

🐦 Tweets of the week

Brexit happened. The UK is officially exiting the European Union. Ledger and Bitpanda had both witty marketing efforts…

🤹 Startups News

  • It’s getting harder and harder to cash out without KYC-ing away your identity. Localbitcoins is now an AML hellhole, Bisq is great if you’re happy to wait two days for a trade, which leaves what exactly? Localcryptos.com What’s more, the platform utilizes noncustodial escrow, favoring smart contracts for ETH transactions and P2WSH for bitcoin. At no point are your funds custodied sitting on a centralized server [Source]

  • If you are trading options, Deribit is the place to be with 86% of market share… very impressive and based in Europe…

  • Crypto exchange and custodian Gemini has hired former Circle compliance head, Blair Halliday, as its chief compliance officer and money-laundering reporting officer [Source]

  • Crypto exchange Binance has hired former Huobi executive Josh Goodbody for leading growth in Europe and Latin America [Source] - Josh is the best! Congrats!

🎁 Startups Product & Partnership

  • Blockchain.com launched a full banking integration for Turkish Lira (TRY) to create a native payment gateway for users to deposit and withdraw Lira on its trading platform. With this development users in Turkey no longer have to incur high fees and conversion rates from third-party payment processors. Turkish traders have consistently been one of the most active countries on the company’s exchange since it launched last Summer [Source]

  • Coinbase is expanding its institutional custody business via the launch of a new unit based in Ireland, the cryptocurrency exchange announced on Wednesday [Source]

  • Investment platform CurioInvest and digital assets exchange MERJ have tied up to offer tokens backed by rare and luxury cars, including Ferrari [Source]

  • Chainalysis just published a report on cyber crime, and in particular, crimes involving cryptocurrencies. The report said that 1.1% of all global cryptocurrency activity for the year 2019 were of criminal nature. This 1.1% is equal to about $11 Billion USD. The majority of crimes involved pertain to terrorism financing and darknet markets. Next, stolen funds, these three make up for the vast majority of the illicit money streams. Scams, sanction evasion, and ransomware aren’t even visible on these charts [Source]

  • Great post by B2C2 on The Illusion of the Chinese Miracle Economy and Blockchain’s Dark Side [Link]

Regardless of whether he is successful, China’s blockchain will likely also be harnessed to surveil the proletariat. After so many years of financial repression, social credit scores coupled with blockchain-enabled personal financial histories look poised to be effective in quashing dissidents. Xi may indeed be able to maintain the social stability he seeks, but the introduction of a state blockchain represents a further erosion in Chinese civil liberties.

🏭Corporates

  • Bank Frick, an European blockchain bank, has expanded its range of cryptocurrencies for which it offers trading and custodian services. Bank Frick now offers trading and secure custody of bitcoin cash for professional market participants and wealthy private clients. Trading takes place within the fully regulated environment of the bank [Source]

  • Swiss Bank Julius Baer Offers New Digital Asset Services With Licensed Crypto Bank SEBA. Julius Baer has extended its service range to include consolidated portfolio overviews across conventional and digital assets. It will also provide clients with access to a group of cryptocurrencies [Source]

🏦Regulations / Universities

  • Zermatt, a municipality in Switzerland at the foot of the Matterhorn known for its ski resort, has started accepting bitcoin for government services. The Zermatt town hall now has a point-of-sale solution, installed by Zug-based Bitcoin Suisse, to accept the cryptocurrency. News.Bitcoin.com reached out to Zermatt for more information [Source]

  • Protonmail has been banned in Russia after a recent barrage of false threatening messages being sent from Protonmail email addresses. The emails had been sent to schools, hospitals, and courts and threatened bombings [Source]

  • Ukraine to Oversee Crypto Transactions Above $1,200, Sees Opportunities in Legalization Not Risks [Source]

💰Fundings & M&A

  • The venture arm of the world's most profitable company Saudi Aramco has invested $5 million in blockchain-based oil trading platform Vakt [Source]


About the author: Etienne used to head principal strategic investment (Companies, Funds and token investment) at Elwood, One of the largest European digital assets investment firm spun off of Brevan Howard, billion-dollar Macro Hedge fund. Previously, he was part of the founding team at the largest Capital Markets Venture Fund in London, Illuminate Financial.

2020 The Year of Consolidation for Europe. Who is the next Coinbase?

TokenAnalyst and Mining insights, Deribit and 5AMLD, A new ETP, WEF launching CBDC guidelines and much more!

Hi Everyone, Thank you for supporting the European crypto ecosystem 🇪🇺.

Etienne Twitter, etienne@blockwyre.com)

ps: don’t hesitate to send me an email if you enjoy this newsletter, Always great to have feedback :)


💡Thank you NovitasFTCL for supporting the 🇪🇺 Ecosystem

We want to thank our partner NovitasFTCL, a leading boutique firm of corporate finance advisors to the European Financial Technology sector. 

Based in London, NovitasFTCL has 45+ years of combined experience in the FinTech sector and executed over 120 transactions across Europe including M&As and Fundraisings. 

Do not hesitate to contact me if you want an introduction. 

🕵️‍♂️2020 The Year of Consolidation for Europe. Who is the next Coinbase?

  • Paul from Pantera Capital recently published an article about the age of consolidation which I think is really on point and the team from TokenData published an excellent overview of the crypto M&A landscape - $2.84bn of M&A deal value in 2018 and $700m in 2019

  • The digital assets ecosystem is maturing at a rapid pace. One year in this ecosystem seems to be the equivalent of five to ten years in the traditional market. This is driven by the rapid adoption from both retail and institutional investors, the network effect from the underlying technology and the nascent regulation leaving room to innovation. 

    The main global trends include

    (i) Exchanges are very active acquirers: Flush with cash, the exchanges are looking for top talents through acqui-hires, to broaden their geography reach and to add new capabilities (ie. Coinbase acquiring Xapo to strengthen its custody function)

    (ii) Consolidation of prime broker activities: The good people at Blockchain Capital added the below slide in their latest 2020 predictions. This is on point as most crypto capital markets companies are building silo services, ‘I provide only Lending, sorry!’ ‘I am only a OTC desk’ etc… This is a massive pain for the end-users and make these businesses very market dependent. The only company that has quietly built a full-service prime broker style company is DCG - Lending, OTC, Investment Management etc… Nevertheless, there are other rooms for expansion. The Blockchain capital team forgot a few items in their below slides including: Research, Cash / Treasury Management, Banking services, fiat-onramp etc… It’s still early!

(iii) Fintech companies are moving to crypto through M&A: As everyone wants to be a bank, it feels natural for Tech companies to add crypto to their offerings. The main reason is the strong virality and a high margin business line. Look at Revolut or Etoro, both companies benefited massively from the 2017 boom and added new users and grew their profits. Tech companies will likely continue to look to innovate in this sector and will have the possibility to acquire ICOed companies that are running out of cash…

What does that mean for Europe?

2019 was a consolidation year for the European ecosystem. Category leaders raised large war chest or got acquired by international competitors. Incumbents were also active through partnerships and investments as they do not want to miss this new paradigm shift.

  • M&A: The exchange ecosystem is a prime example for this with already few landmark acquisitions such as Bitstamp ($400m+) by Nexon and CryptoFacilities ($100m+) by Kraken 

  • Funding: Some of the largest funding rounds happened with SEBA ($100m+), Ledger ($88m+) , Chainalysis ($53m+) and Elliptic ($35m+)

  • Institutional: Unlike in FinTech, the incumbents have already started to be active. Some examples include Nivaura raising $20m from the London Stock Exchange or Deutsche Börse, Swisscom teaming up with Sygnum to develop a trusted digital asset ecosystem

2020 will be another consolidation year driven by new emerging global players from Europe, new acquisitions by B2C FinTech companies looking to expand into digital assets and further consolidation by crypto and non-crypto companies looking to lead the regulated and unregulated market

  • New emerging global players: Deribit (Derivative exchange space), CryptoCompare (Data) and Copper (Primer Broker, clearing)

  • Retail FinTech: Revolut has been expanding its crypto efforts since 2017, Bux recently acquired Blockport and Ziglu has adopted a digital assets first use case

  • Crypto Native: Meanwhile at the seed/Series A stage, companies like Nexus Mutual, Guesser or Argent are growing and have found product market fit. 2020 will be the year of their growth expansion with likely new funding rounds

  • Central Bank Digital Currency: While Tether has done a great job for unregulated stablecoin, the central banks are now gearing up to launch their own digital currency. The question is what (private) chains will they use?

At the cross-road of capital markets and digital assets, the digital assets capital markets ecosystem remains difficult to navigate for most investors and startups. The high level of noise and fast changing landscape make it difficult for newcomers.

As such, there are only few European investors comfortable to lead round and digital assets companies are facing difficulty to raise their awareness. Finally, corporate investors interested in the space are often lacking the network and insights to navigate this ecosystem. 

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are an entrepreneur or investor interested to discussed fundraising or M&A in the European ecosystem! (Just reply this email)

🐦 Tweets of the week

Excellent thread from the TokenAnalyst team. Some key takeaways include the shift to ASIC mining aka professional mining had a positive correlation to the price. In other words, it was a milestone for the professionalisation of Bitcoin as a new industry.

And if you are interested in Bitcoin Mining and Lightning you should attend the below event!

🤹 Startups News

  • Due to the 5AMLD regulations, Deribit will introduce an additional tier of KYC requirements, providing two different KYC levels — Level 0 and Level 1. Level 0 will allow Deribit clients to withdraw up to one Bitcoin (BTC) or 50 ether (ETH) per 24 hours, while no withdrawal limits apply to Level 1 [Source]

🎁 Startups Product & Partnership

  • LocalBitcoins disabled accounts from several African countries and sent a notice to traders. A number of countries were defined by the EU commission, where they require ‘an enhanced due diligence process’ before they can operate. Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Libya, Nigeria, and Tunisia are listed as the only African countries affected, however traders from other countries are also complaining that their accounts were suspended [Source]

  • Digital asset issuer Amun is launching a financial product for traders who predict bitcoin's price will drop. Switzerland-based Amun launched the 21Shares Short Bitcoin ETP (SBTC) on the Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX), an ETP tracking Bitcoin’s price movements inversely [Source]

  • The United Kingdom’s legendary Lancashire Cricket Club will sell tickets for all domestic and international fixtures at Emirates Old Trafford in 2020 through a blockchain-based platform called TIXnGO [Source]

🏭Corporates

  • The total number of companies working with digital assets and blockchain technologies in the Crypto Valley has reached 842, the survey reveals, compared to 750 in its last year’s edition. Jobs in the sector have also increased substantially – from 3,300 in 2018 to 4,400 by the end of 2019 [Source]

  • HMRC posted on Jan. 17 in an open contract call worth 100,000 pounds sterling, should gather intelligence through cluster analysis. The HMRC’s Cybercrime team hopes this will help them correlate crypto-asset transactions with service providers

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) has for the first time developed a framework for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The framework, dubbed the “CBDC Policy‑Maker Toolkit,” provides a guide for central banks around the world to help them decide if CBDC is right for them. For those who are already researching, it helps them "make progress quickly," said the WEF [Source]

🏦Regulations / Universities

  • Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s Finance Minister, reportedly said that the State Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine (SFMS) will be the responsible authority for tracking the sources of origin of the funds on citizens’ crypto wallets [Source]

  • A fully regulated tokenized real estate fund has been approved by officials in Liechtenstein. The fund was created by Ahead Wealth Solutions, a financial services provider based in the nation's capital Vaduz, in collaboration with Bank Frick and blockchain technology provider Token Factory [Source]

  • Alexander Vinnik, the Russian-born IT specialist who spent over two years in detention in Greece, where he was arrested on a U.S. warrant, is now in Paris. The alleged BTC-e operator, suspected of laundering at least $4bn through the now defunct crypto exchange, has been handed over to France after the Greek judiciary turned down a plea against his extradition [Source]


About the author: Etienne used to head principal strategic investment (Companies, Funds and token investment) at Elwood, One of the largest European digital assets investment firm spun off of Brevan Howard, billion-dollar Macro Hedge fund. Previously, he was part of the founding team at the largest Capital Markets Venture Fund in London, Illuminate Financial.

New Partnership with NovitasFTCL // There is no such thing as Digital Fiat. What is CBDC?

Bitcoin halving not priced in. Kraken futures, KeyTango, Nickel, Ramp, Deribit, Seba, BTCX IPO

Hi Everyone, Thank you for supporting the European crypto ecosystem 🇪🇺.

Etienne Twitter, etienne@blockwyre.com)

ps: don’t hesitate to send me an email if you enjoy this newsletter, Always great to have feedback :)


💡New Partnership: NovitasFTCL - Leading European FinTech Corporate Finance Advisor

  • At the cross-road of capital markets and digital assets, the digital assets capital markets ecosystem remains difficult to navigate for most investors and startups. I am joining as an advisor to NovitasFTCL to share my insights, network and knowledge in the European digital assets capital markets ecosystem.

  • We want to thank our partner NovitasFTCL, a leading boutique firm of corporate finance advisors to the European Financial Technology sector. Based in London, NovitasFTCL has 45+ years of combined experience in the FinTech sector and executed over 120 transactions across Europe including M&As and Fundraisings. 

  • NovitasFTCL provides clients with extensive industry knowledge, long standing industry contacts and the ability to execute complex and often cross-border transactions. Do not hesitate to contact me if you want an introduction. 

🕵️‍♂️There is no such thing as Digital Fiat. What is CBDC?

  • There has been lot of noise about central bank digital currency (CBDC) following announcements by China, Bank of England, Australia and more recently from Giancarlo, fmr top American regulator.

  • However, most crypto thought leaders are confusing the definition of money by the central bank. There is no such things as digital fiat. This is pure science fiction…

  • Central banks see CBDC as a third form of base money coexisting with repos and banknotes.

  • The main use case of a CBDC would be to serve as a settlement medium allowing individuals and global enterprises to make payments in dollars irrespective of space and time.

  • In other words, CBDC would offer a cheaper, faster and more inclusive global financial system because it would not need middle mens such as commercial and retail banks as well as more broadly clearing systems.

  • The threat for retail banks is quite important and as such make the CBDC likely to be used only for niche use cases - at least at the beginning. A good example could be a CBDC for transfer between central bank and financial institutions.

  • In addition to Banking-sector disintermediation, there are other number of challenges including run risk, Central bank balance sheet and credit allocation, International implications and Costs and risks to the central bank. For more info, have a look at the IMF paper.

  • Some may have noticed that there is no mentioned of the term blockchain in CBDC. That’s because there is no real need of a blockchain for this. Yup. It will likely be a private blockchain at best and more likely a classic database managed by the central bank.

  • Finally, Mr Zuckerberg recently warned the US Congress that if the company’s Libra project was blocked, it could lead to China overtaking the US in financial innovation and global influence. There is actually very little similarities between Libra and a China CBDC. The latter will fall under the renminbi’s capital controls, which restrict how much can be taken out of the country and the former is a basket of currencies.

  • In summary, there is no such thing as digital fiat. This is not monopoly. There is definitely some interest but the novelty of this new form of money still require more research, regulation and discussion among central banks. Let’s see how this progress over the next years…

  • /(la) fin

🐦 Tweets of the week

Meanwhile…

🤹 Startups News

  • A great article on crypto Tax by Accointing.com [Source]

  • Kraken Futures hired its first Russian representative in a bid to ramp up its operations. Between 10 % and 15 % of the trading volume on the most popular crypto derivatives exchanges like BitMEX, Deribit and Kraken comes from Russian traders, most of whom are professionals [Source]

  • KyberSwap exchange is moving out of Malta to the British Virgin Islands. The exchange said 5AMLD regulations “would put too high a barrier for the majority of traders, both – regulatory and cost-wise”. Just last week, Deribit said it is leaving the Netherlands for Panama due to 5AMLD [Source]

  • Israel-based cryptocurrency settlement solution provider, KeyTango, has partnered with GSR Markets, to enable OTC crypto desks to reduce counterparty risk and avoid the responsibility of cryptocurrency custody [Source]

🎁 Startups Product & Partnership

  • Nickel Digital Asset Management, a privately-owned London-based investment firm, announced the launch of its second cryptocurrency offering, the Nickel Digital Gold Institutional fund. The fund will be supported by a bespoke Walled Garden solution developed by digital assets prime brokerage, Copper. [Source]

  • Ramp launched its Pools solution, All trades are automated and users are in control of theirs assets at all time whether they want to withdraw them, move them or top up [Source]

  • U.S.-based Silvergate Bank has launched a bitcoin collateralized loan product with Bitstamp as its launch partner. The crypto exchange will act as the bank’s agent to manage and provide custody for bitcoin collateral. The product utilizes Silvergate Bank’s Exchange Network to fund loans and process repayments in real time [Source]

  • Software maker Trading Technologies (TT) announced it would provide trading tools to users of leading crypto exchange, Deribit, including a suite of advanced order types, charting and analytics as well as access to a feature allowing users to create algorithms for bot trading [Source]

🏭Corporates

  • A building on the prestigious Banhofstrasse in Zurich, Switzerland worth $134m+ was successfully tokenized and sold on the blockchain. The new owner of the building is Swiss real estate investment company BrickMark. The company has issued bond-backed crypto tokens that figuratively represent “shares” of ownership in the building [Source]

💰Fundings & M&A

  • Seba, a young Swiss-based digital asset bank holding regulatory licensing, looks to attempt a secondary capital raise to garner over $95 million in additional funds [Source]

  • Swedish Crypto Firm BTCX Wants to Conduct an IPO. Note, it would not be the first Swedish crypto firm to conduct an IPO. Quickbit, a company specializing in crypto payments for e-merchants, made its way to NGM in Stockholm [Source]


About the author: Etienne used to head principal strategic investment (Companies, Funds and token investment) at Elwood, One of the largest European digital assets investment firm spun off of Brevan Howard, billion-dollar Macro Hedge fund. Previously, he was part of the founding team at the largest Capital Markets Venture Fund in London, Illuminate Financial.

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