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  • L Misthos and M Bacina

Austrian bank rolling out retail crypto trading in January

Raiffeisen Bank, one of the largest banks in Austria, has announced plans to roll out cryptocurrency trading services to nearly 18 million retail customers by the end of January 2024. The bank boasts an impressive AUD$215 billion in assets and its announcement marks a significant step forward in mainstream financial institutions embracing digital currencies, particularly in Europe.

Raiffeisen Bank is partnering with Bitpanda, a fellow Austrian retail broker, which provides trading services for securities, commodities as well as cryptocurrencies. Bitpanda is also regulated by the Financial Market Authority in Austria and the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in Germany.

A declaration of intent has been signed between the parties, with an evaluation process for a specific offer being aimed for the end of the year.

Michael Höllerer, General Director of Raiffeisen Bank said:

The examination of the partnership The aim of Bitpanda is to add an innovative, secure facet to our product range and should enable all customers to easily build wealth.

Making cryptocurrencies simple is a sentiment echoed by Eric Demuth, CEO of Bitpanda:

The financial market is complex and sometimes exclusive. But we aim to make investing accessible to everyone. It's about simple, intuitive products for which you don't need an operating manual.

The companies will integrate trading into Raiffeisen Bank's existing mobile application, ensuring a familiar user experience. This move is aligned with the regulatory clarity around cryptocurrency in the European Union, thanks to MiCA, which further legitimises the spread of digital currencies in the EU.

Raiffeisen Bank joins Santander Private Banking International as another major European bank that is opening its doors to crypto trading and pioneering the adoption of cryptocurrencies in Europe.

In contrast to rapidly expanding access, Australia has seen National Australia Bank disband their digital asset team recently and regulation is taking a slower and steady approach. Despite the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) removing crypto-assets from its list of enforcement priorities and the Australian Treasury releasing a consultation paper on regulating digital asset platforms, the movement towards fit-for-purpose legislation in Australia is slower than an Austrian mountain climber as the EU continues to scale towards higher digital asset peaks.

According to Raiffeisen Bank, almost 30% of people aged 20-39 years already purchase digital assets via online platforms, such as Bitpanda, adding further weight to the collaboration between the two companies.

By Michael Bacina and Luke Misthos


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