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POLITICO Tech 28 class of 2022: Eric Demuth – POLITICO

Co-Founder/Co-CEO, Bitpanda


Being the CEO of a start-up company backed by tech venture capitalist Peter Thiel is promising — you can ask Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg (Thiel invested in Facebook in 2004). Eric Demuth, co-CEO of Austrian “everything exchange” platform Bitpanda, now holds the same position. His 7-year-old company, funded by Thiel, helps 3 million European users invest and trade cryptocurrencies, common stocks and precious metals. Bitpanda’s most recent funding round, in August last year, valued the company at $4.1 billion.

While Facebook was a mature company when it had to tackle regulations, Demuth, who was a mechanic on container ships, had to navigate it immediately in order to grow the business further. Scaling in Europe is a challenge for every business due to the patchwork of rules, but even more so for crypto and fintech companies, Demuth said. “Everyone thinks, ‘Oh yeah, Europe’, but it’s not Europe. It’s 27 individual countries with non-harmonised financial regulations.

Demuth will also have to keep an eye out for the chorus of regulators demanding more regulation for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. A full crackdown could be a setback for Demuth, as he started Bitpanda to make it easier to manage cryptocurrencies: “Frustrated by the difficulty of buying and selling cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Eric then co-founded Bitpanda in the idea that everyone has the same access to the financial world,” reads a biography of Demuth provided by the company. The next year will be decisive for the idea and the execution of Demuth.

What to watch out for this year: Demuth will have to evolve Bitpanda’s platform further, while regulators want to crack down on the cryptocurrencies traded on it.

What is their superpower: To be one of Europe’s crypto and fintech darlings, thanks to Thiel’s backing and solid valuation.

Influence Rating: 18/30

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