Neobank Monese is the latest fintech firm to explore crypto products

Quick Take

  • Monese has been in talks with crypto exchanges over potential partnerships.
  • But the startup says that it has “no immediate plans” to debut crypto products.

London-based neobank Monese is exploring offering new crypto products through its mobile money app, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The sources said that Monese has held talks with crypto exchanges over potential partnerships to help launch the new tools.

But the exact timeframe for such a move is unclear, and a spokesperson for Monese said the firm has “no immediate plans” to launch a crypto product.

“We’ve been speaking with almost all payment processors and neobanks. They are all at different stages, so you never know who’s serious about adding crypto and who’s just doing research,” said one executive at a crypto firm.

All aboard the crypto train

A spate of fintech firms have shown just how serious they are about crypto in the first half of 2021.

Neobanks such as Curve in the United Kingdom, N26 in Germany and MoneyLion in the United States have all announced plans to offer new crypto trading tools, as have European investment firms Plum, Freetrade and Trade Republic.

“As Covid-19 hit and priorities changed, fintechs started to talk about profit,” said Julian Sawyer, CEO of Bitstamp. “What you’ve seen is across the board companies which have got distribution have started to look at other sources of income. On the other side, consumers have been saying they’d like to do things with crypto.”

Sawyer noted, however, that fintech firms will not invest in expanding into crypto unless they’ve seen strong customer demand. “They’ve got 101 other products to do,” he added.

Launched in 2015, Monese is a rival to the likes of Revolut and N26 in the U.K. and Europe. Its banking app and card offering is aimed at people with a less than pristine credit score or lack of address, who therefore often struggle to open traditional bank accounts. The service is available across 31 countries in Europe, and the company has amassed more than two million sign-ups to date.

Monese secured a $60 million Series B investment from PayPal, Kinnevik, Augmentum Fintech and other investors in September 2018. The startup was rumored to be raising further equity capital earlier this year.

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