German neobank N26, one of the biggest European fintech companies and has a $9-billion valuation, is finally ready to tackle crypto and equities trading after striving for a global expansion.
Despite being an early player in the financial technology boom across Europe, the Berlin-based online bank N26’s global ambitions induced a setback in its diversification of services, N26 co-founder and co-CEO Max Tayenthal said in a Financial Times interview.
After exiting two critical fintech markets — the United States and the United Kingdom — N26 plans to “sharpen its focus on its European business” by introducing new products and services to its 7 million customers.
According to Tayenthal, who admitted that the online bank needs to expand its product universe, N26 aims to launch a crypto trading business in 2022 followed by an equities brokerage instead of “putting flags in new markets.”
The N26 mobile app currently doesn't offer crypto functionality, and features of the upcoming product related to crypto trading are yet to be revealed. Cointelegraph has reached out to N26 for more information. An N26 spokesperson confirmed that the digital bank plans to start a crypto trading business with a partner "sometime this year" as a first step of bringing several key products.
N26 announced its exit from the U.S. market in November when it teased additional financial products and services for its European customers. “N26 will focus its strategy on broadening its digital banking experience into new verticals to include investment products in the coming year,” the announcement said.
The company was hit with several restrictions from German watchdog the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, or BaFin, in May 2021 partly due to its lacking Anti-Money Laundering controls. BaFin decreed that N26, which accepted an average of 170,000 new clients per month last year, cannot onboard more than 50,000 customers per month.
Describing the BaFin-enforced new customer cap as a massive restriction for the growth investor-funded fintech, Tayenthal said he expects the condition to have been lifted by late summer 2022.
"Compliance is and will remain our core priority at N26," a spokesperson told Cointelegraph, adding that the team takes the responsibility of being a licensed bank very seriously as N26 continues to invest in improving standards as it grows.