Young Platform, crypto for beginners

Young Platform closed an A-series round in mid-2021, raising 3.5 million from united ventures, and now aims to become the Italian market leader to then begin an internationalisation phase during the late part of 2021 and the early part of 2022. The mission of this fintech, with a team averaging 25 years of age, is to make cryptocurrencies accessible to the mass market and newbies, starting with education, and allowing buying and selling to occur in the simplest way possible.

Its product ecosystem is made up of three different products: Stepdrop which educates and raises awareness, Young Platform base which allows buying and selling cryptocurrencies in the easiest way possible and Young Platform pro for the advanced users. Young Platform value proposition is aimed at the user who has only heard of bitcoin but does not know where to start.

Due to its interest in possible open innovation collaborations with traditional financial institutions, giving them the possibility to integrate the buying and selling of digital assets, the Young Platform team has so far gathered talents on the Italian territory but from this moment on is ready to look for them around Europe.

Please accept preferences, statistics, marketing cookies to watch this video.

Keep up to date with news from FD Community and the Italian fintech world

BY SUBSCRIBING TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Bitpanda is changing the way the world views investing

Bitpanda is a well-known name in the fintech world, it has also arrived in Italy and immediately entered the Fintech District community. We met Orlando Merone, Country Manager Italy, to hear about Bitpanda’s projects and objectives.

What does Bitpanda do and who is it for?

Bitpanda is a fintech company based in Vienna, Austria founded in 2014 by Eric Demuth, Paul Klanschek and Christian Trummer. Bitpanda has been working on making investments accessible for everyone for six years now. Initially offering cryptocurrencies, the company developed itself by adding tokenized digital assets such as precious metals, and now, fractional stocks, to the platform, allowing anyone to start investing with a minimum of one euro. Bitpanda has over 3 million users and over 500+ staff members from more than 50 nations. We’re levelling the financial playing field and changing the way the world views investing.

How are you entering the Italian market and what do you expect?

We have a very local approach. Italian can use the Bitpanda website and broker platform, the Bitpanda Helpdesk as well as the Bitpanda App, in their language. At Bitpanda we believe that language shouldn’t be a barrier for our users. Soon the Bitpanda Academy will be available in Italian as well. Italy is the company’s first expansion in 2021 and an important part of Bitpanda growth. It is obvious that the Italian people are ready to welcome the innovation that fintech has to offer and we are more than thrilled to be part of the process. All of this looks very promising for our business development. Bitpanda’s goal is to become the biggest European biggest investment platform, and the same goal we have in Italy. Our plan for this year is to double our user base as we expand our team operating from our new office in Milan.

Do you have open innovation projects, collaborations or partnerships in mind?

Actually, we are working on a new B2B2C solution to forge partnerships with banks, asset managers, and other fintechs who are willing to plunge into uncharted waters of online-only financial services. This means we are in ongoing talks with banks and financial institutions here in Italy. Partner companies can rely on Bitpanda’s technical infrastructure for fractional 24/7 trading across all our asset classes, stocks, crypto, metals.

How is your team composed and how is it growing?

We’re growing really fast and we need new people that are willing to help us grow even faster. This is why we are opening a Talent Hub in Milano. There’s a massive opportunity to really reshape how people see personal finance and investing, and we have no plans to slow down now. Our expansion into Italy will allow us to attract the talent we need and support our vision to build new technologies for the future. We are currently looking for talented people to join our Milano office, in the Growth and Marketing team, but also to support us with everything related to compliance, as Bitpanda is fully regulated and places great deal of importance to this topic. We are also looking for new team members to join for local support and community building.

Keep up to date with news from FD Community and the Italian fintech world

by subscribing to our newsletter

Checksig and the value of bitcoin

Having joined the community only a few months ago, Checksig has continued to grow and make a name for itself. In order to deepen its activity and its projects we asked its founder, Ferdinando Ametrano, to tell us something about them.

How is CheckSig’s business developing? What are the important milestones you have reached?

We have completed the technical developments, perfecting the bitcoin custody solution that has been live since the end of March, but has undergone testing in all possible situations of both stress and attack. We have also completed our regulatory setup to be able to handle everything required or possibly required by the regulator: know-your-customer, anti-money laundering procedures, etc..
In addition to this, we have developed an insurance contract with one of the main Italian insurance companies, so we can also add to the technical security of our custody solution the appropriate insurance guarantees.
Moreover, we have started application for SOC 1 and SOC 2 certifications: these take between 6 and 18 months to obtain but they will be yet another confirmation of the robustness of our processes.

Which customers are you mainly addressing?

As far as individuals are concerned, our solution is aimed at high-net-worth individuals: the minimum threshold to access our services is 10 bitcoins and since July we have been accepting our first customers. We also have an important focus on legal entities, in particular financial institutions. We are engaging in talks with some of the main European financial institutions. For them our custody solution is an important technical enabler to operate with bitcoin. In these cases, however, decisions are also strongly conditioned by regulatory aspects as well as, as for everyone, the degree of risk appetite and the determination to innovate.

How do you think people’s attitudes towards bitcoin have changed and why?

They have not yet changed significantly. The majority of people look at this phenomenon with mistrust because it has been presented as a Ponzi scheme or something interesting only for criminals. When, however, people discover that bitcoin is still alive and well and that it grinds extraordinary yields year after year, they start asking questions and are inevitably attracted by the speculative aspect. Straight after this, they also discover its cultural relevance and begin to appreciate it. At that point the last difficulty remains a technical one: guarding bitcoin safely today is not easy, but this is exactly the moment when our service becomes interesting.

How has covid-19 impacted your business and how do you expect it to impact it in the coming months?

It has not had a significant impact: we were already used to working remotely and our activity is intrinsically based on a decentralized computer protocol that evidently has no interaction with Covid-19. Moreover, we believe that economic crisis scenarios and unbridled global inflationary temptations will play in favor of a safe haven asset like bitcoin.

What growth targets have you set yourselves, in light of all this, for the end of 2020?

From now on, it is important for us to raise capital in safekeeping. Growth targets are 12 months ahead of the calendar year: we aim to reach ten thousand bitcoins (one hundred million dollars) by July 2021.

If you wish to stay updated about news, events and initiatives of the Fintech District, subscribe to our newsletter HERE

CheckSig: Transparent Bitcoin Custody

CheckSig handles the storage of bitcoin, the digital equivalent of gold. It is a service offeder to institutional investors, financial institutions, high-net-worth individuals, and in general to all those who, when it comes to custody, for regulatory or opportunity reasons, cannot go the do-it-yourself way.

Bitcoin is all about financial sovereignty, but when the economic amounts become so significant as to be dangerous for an individual or if you are a financial institution that cannot directly hold its assets, then the Checksig’s transparent custody services, in which the process is public and monitorable by all, become of extreme interest.

Checksig team is talking with the main Italian asset manager, some of which are part of European and international groups. This is its natural growth: start from the domestic market and expand into European and international markets. “We start as “Italian”, with pride, without limiting our reach” explains Founder Ferdinando Amitrano. In the seed money stage, they have raised one million euros for a company valuation of 5 million, now they are working now on a capital increase for a multiple that should be significant.

Please accept preferences, statistics, marketing cookies to watch this video.

OPEN INNOVATION

Many come to us through our sister company DGI (Digital Gold Institute), which plays a consulting and training role, explaining what bitcoins are. Those who understand that a bitcoin investment is a rational diversification of their portfolio, they conclude that it is necessary to invest a percentage of their portfolio in bitcoins. At that point they have the problem of how to store them, then our custody service becomes interesting. For this reason, the main clients of CheckSig are professional asset managers and high-net-worth individuals who are autonomous in their investment or have their own investment management team.

TEAM

The team is an international one, also because our custody process relies on being multi-location, so they are in different places in the world. We have people in Singapore, United States and various European countries. The internal team is very young apart from those who deal with corporate relations. There is an age gap between the young technicians and the administrative and relational structure which is of higher seniority.

Stay up to date on Fintech District’s activities and events, SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Is bitcoin the digital equivalent of gold?

Please accept preferences, statistics, marketing cookies to watch this video.

The Digital Gold Institute is an R&D excellence center for teaching, training, consulting, and advising about scarcity in the digital domain, which is bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology. It considers bitcoin as the digital equivalent of gold. If one considers the role of physical gold in the history of civilization, money, and finance, then it is clear how disruptive its digital equivalent could be in our digital civilization and the future of money and finance.

Among its current partners, DIG has consulting firms such as Prometeia and Deloitte, a lobbying group on crypto-assets such as CryptoValues, it also has a joint venture with the Milano-Bicocca University known as Crypto Asset Lab. This fintech addresses the entire industrial, institutional, and corporate world: if they do not have a solid understanding of bitcoin and crypto-asset yet, it helps them with an orientation roadmap and a journey to robust awareness.

DIG was self-founded, it was born from our professional as well as economic efforts. However, founders have now received a purchase offer that they are evaluating and that they could accept in the coming months.

OPEN INNOVATION

The partners the team hopes to get in touch with, also through Fintech District, are of the kind we have been already working with: financial and insurance groups, asset management funds and regulators. These are the partners who benefit the most from our contribution: with DIG they can increase their understanding of bitcoin and crypto-assets.

TEAM

In the team, there are people in their fifties, like me, who are the top senior, but also people about 30 years old, so the resulting average age is probably about 35-40 years old. Right now, the background is very technical and technological: there are people with master’s degrees in physics, mathematics, mathematical engineering, and computer science. There are also few people with master’s degrees in economics. They are always looking for brilliant people with a strong commitment, better if they have a technical background.

Stay up to date on Fintech District’s activities and events, SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

CONIO: interview with Christian Miccoli

Conio closed a three-million dollar round of financing in June, and now this fintech startup is rated at over forty million. It will invest the new capital in research and development and in the key sectors related to cryptocurrencies.

What does Conio do?

conio

It is often referred to as the Italian Coinbase.” It deals with bitcoins and its mission is to make it easy for everyone to buy and sell bitcoins and, above all, to safeguard them. “The custody of digital coins – explains the co founder Christian Miccoli – is a highly sensitive and complex problem for which we have found a very innovative and very secure solution”.

Investors not only have credit in this “solution” founded by Conio but also in the potential of digital currencies and bitcoins and in the validity of the Conio team, which is able to work well in the present and to look to the future with concreteness and vision.

In Italy, Fintechs like Conio are forced to deal with a regulation that, especially in the financial field, “is extremely heavy and – points out Miccoli – requires very specialized skills as well as having special needs that can’t always be met immediately”. One way to give an answer and face the complicated Italian context is the collaboration between startups. That’s why Conio joined the Fintech District community: “For us it’s a good opportunity to connect to the rest of the ecosystem”.

“In Italy it is very important that so many startups are being developed – continues Miccoli – and that startups are able to collaborate, to share knowledge and skills between them to stimulate each other, support each other and increase the chances of success for all”.

According to Miccoli, Fintechs can make themselves heard by Regulators only if they work together and stick together, “asking for simpler conditions, such as those already present in other countries, for example in UK, Switzerland and Malta”.

Hoping that in Italy the situation will become more favorable for its business, Conio does not hide its intention to operate abroad, throughout Europe. To do so, as Miccoli explains, “we need the Italian legislation to be at the forefront and not create excessive barriers against development”.

Please accept preferences, statistics, marketing cookies to watch this video.

If you wish to stay up-to-date about news, events and initiatives of the Fintech District, subscribe to our newsletter HERE