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Revolut’s valuation has gone to the moon since it added crypto trading

Obsession
Future of Finance
Obsession
Future of Finance

Revolut’s valuation has soared to $1.7 billion since the London-based payment app launched a service for crypto trading, making it one of the few bank-like companies to offer access to bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin. Bringing digital tokens aboard late last year looks like a shrewd move thus far: The company’s customer base has increased by some 70% since then, to 1.7 million.

Although venture capital investors grumble about heady startup valuations, many young fintech firms appear to have little trouble raising cash. London-based Revolut raised $250 million from firms including DST Global, which was founded by Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner. The three-year-old startup has now pulled in $340 million from investors.

While Revolut said it broke even in December, founder Nik Storonsky has said growth rather than profitability is the goal for now. It’s going to need the extra cash for a planned expansion to Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and the US, where financial services require state-by-state approval. The company also plans to more than double its staff, to 800 employees, by the end of the year, with a focus on engineers and designers.

Revolut is comparable to another London fintech with a valuation of more than $1 billion—money transfer app TransferWise—which posted an annual profit last year:

Company Year founded Valuation Customers Processed monthly
TransferWise 2010 $1.6 billion* 3 million $2.8 billion
Revolut 2015 $1.7 billion 1.7 million $1.8 billion
Source: Companies, media reports*

By some measures, Revolut appears to be narrowing the gap with TransferWise. Part of the reason is rapid customer acquisition thanks to its crypto service (US-based Robinhood’s user base also surged after the brokerage app rolled out crypto trading). Revolut has said its growth was also spurred by other new products, like a feature for saving spare change, and by having more teams on the ground across Europe.

Even so, the thing that stands out is the embrace of crypto. Looking at Revolut’s sky-high valuation, other financial startups will feel pressure to add services for things like bitcoin. At some point, established banks could feel the heat as well.

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