Revolut unleashes fresh crypto push despite sector turmoil

Revolut has announced a fresh push into crypto, with 22 new tokens available to buy and sell on its app, bringing the number it offers to 82.

The digital bank, which has 20 million customers, has rolled out the new investment options to customers in the UK and Europe. New tokens include metaverse assets ApeCoin and Sandbox.

Emil Urmanshin, who heads up the bank’s crypto operation, described 2022 as “another big year of crypto,” adding that the 22 new tokens represented a “big boost” to the bank’s offering in the space.

It comes as large swathes of the crypto industry continue to suffer the effects of a brutal market crash in recent months. Firms across the sector have cut thousands of jobs, while major players such as lender Celsius and hedge fund Three Arrows Capital have gone bust.

READ Revolut expands into Buy Now Pay Later space

Meanwhile retail investors, the target market for Revolut’s easy-access crypto trading feature, have been hit particularly hard. Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency, is trading at around $23,000, a 51% drop since the start of the year, while others have fallen even further.

The crash has been enough to make the Financial Conduct Authority, which for several years has largely watched crypto from the sidelines, take action. 

On 1 August, the regulator published an update that detailed policies under consideration to protect retail investors, such as encouraging caps on individual bitcoin holdings and limiting how cryptocurrencies can be marketed. 

In July, Revolut sought to tackle the issue of investor protection by launching a selection of educational courses on crypto, designed to help customers better understand the risks associated with investing, as well as how cryptocurrencies and blockchains actually work.

READ LSE boss: ‘It shouldn’t be easier to invest in crypto than capital markets’

The courses use videos and infographics to share lessons about the topics. Customers can earn £14 worth of the crypto token DOT, which is based on the blockchain network Polkadot that hosts the courses, for completing all the lessons.

Revolut is still seeking permanent FCA approval to offer crypto services in the UK, and continues to operate on a temporary register. 

Of the 273 crypto firms that initially applied for full registration with the regulator, 35 have been handed the green light, but the remainder ended up withdrawing their applications.

The firm’s head of global affairs Deirdre Halligan resigned in July. Halligan was in charge of overseeing its relationship with the FCA and all of its licence applications. 

Her departure came weeks after chief executive Nikolay Storonsky criticised the regulator over an application process that he saw as “slower compared to expectations”.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Alex Daniel

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