Crypto Craze Turning Platforms Into Unicorns

Image Credit: iStock Images, bodnarchuk

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Over the last six months, the price of a single bitcoin has climbed from roughly $10,000 to recently above $60,000.

The surge has put some crypto traders on the path to early retirement, into Lambo’s, or both.

Last week we wrote about Coinbase, the cryptocurrency platform staring down a $100 billion valuation for its upcoming IPO. On Tuesday, a number of other crypto-platforms minted new millionaires.

Platform Paradise

Self-styled “neobroker” Bitpanda announced Tuesday that it closed a $170 million Series B funding round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures:

  • The deal values the Vienna-based digital investment platform at $1.2 billion, cementing it as Austria’s first “unicorn.”
  • On a mission to “democratize the complex world of investing,” Bitpanda is using its crypto-success to expand into other offerings such as ETFs, fractional shares, and debit cards.

Next up is Israeli’s eToro Group. You guessed it, a SPAC deal. The Robinhood rival and aspiring “Amazon of finance” launched commission-free trading and added more than 5 million new users last year.

  • eToro is merging with the appropriately named “FinTech Acquisition Corp. V.” in a $9.6 billion merger.
  • In a statement, eToro said, “Momentum is accelerating in 2021 as a new generation of investors discover the global markets.”

No Fee Lunch: One thing on the mind of some investors — the relatively high industry-standard 1.49% transaction fees. Co-CEO of Bitpanda Eric Demuth said, “You have to look at the market standards. I’m pretty sure that you will see a decrease in crypto fees in the next year or so…”

the takeaway

Fortunately for Demuth and his co-CEO, they’ve made a fortune on fees already – each of them is now worth $300 million on paper.