The covid pandemic has boosted cryptocurrency trading according to Olivier van Duijn, CEO of the Dutch crypto broker LiteBit.
Wim de Preter 16/09/2020 - De Tijd
Trade in purely digital coins such as bitcoin will be at least 20 percent higher this year than if there had not been a covid pandemic, Van Duijn estimates. "After an initial slump at the start of the lockdown, we saw activity recover after a week. Since then it has only grown further. "
The Dutch CEO of LiteBit sees two causes for this extra growth. "When people spend more time at home, they become more digitally active. That is typical of the platform economy. In addition, a growing group of people see crypto coins, and especially bitcoin, as a safe investment in turbulent times. "
LiteBit became active in our country in 2017 and has about 36,000 Belgian customers. This makes it the largest player in the market. The company investigated the profile of those crypto investors: they are young (half are between 21 and 40), male (87%) and on average invest in 2 to 3 coins, with bitcoin as the outlier.
It is the typical image of the young speculator who hopes to make some extra money by trading a lot. This is also evident from the relatively modest amounts that circulate in crypto: an average of 334 euros per order. But that image is changing, says Van Duijn. "The fastest growing group are people in their thirties. They usually invest for a somewhat longer term. The share of female investors is also growing strongly. "
"A growing group sees crypto coins as a safe investment in turbulent times."
According to Van Duijn, the Belgian crypto landscape is gradually maturing. "Supervision of the sector is also starting to take shape. There may soon be a registration requirement for brokers like us. We think that's a good thing, because we run on trust. "
The success of crypto has attracted many scammers in recent years, causing regulators in various European countries to tighten the reins. "We hope to get a license soon in Germany, where the conditions are the strictest." Still, there is currently no European "passport" for investment services in crypto coins, as exists for traditional investment services.
The security of the crypto brokers is another concern. The brokers are a target for hackers because stealing account information can generate a lot of money. LiteBit was also hacked in 2017. "The damage wasn't that large, but we learned from it. We now have an extensive prevention plan, "says Van Duijn.