Turin-based crypto exchange and tuition service Young Platform has launched in France following news it secured an operating licence from the French financial markets authority.
Having marked its Italian debut in 2018, the platform is marketed as an entry-level trading tool and safety-first ecosystem for "all things crypto" enabling crypto novices to learn and practice trading of at least 35 leading tokens.
Customers deposit as little as €20 to sign up and start learning crypto trading. They benefit from an analytics-driven digital assets wallet and a bookmarking system to save profitable exchange pairings with which they've had the most success.
Ambroise Hélaine, country manager for France at Young Platform, commented: "Beyond simple cryptocurrency conversion, Young Platform's mission is to convert the complex technical concepts developed by a handful of talented developers into simple mechanics accessible to the greatest number of people.
"Indeed, we fully believe that the enabler of this market is not technological but educational. Our ecosystem of applications allows users to progress at their own pace to make informed investment decisions."
Following the initial deposit, the beginner's exchange opens access to its gamified "academy" with digital products, services and editorial that introduce key trading concepts and adapt to the user's skill level.
Currently with more than 1 million users, the app's ecosystem has virtual currency fundamentals covered, for instance providing context on how blockchain ledgers should be used to transfer crypto funds and settle trades.
A further "play-to-earn" iteration of the product, Young Platform Step, was launched where holdings of the proprietary token YNG can be earned by crypto students. The token is generated as a reward for completing quizzes and also encourages customers to take exercise by fulfilling a daily walking quota in their smartphone's built-in pedometer.
While designing the fundamentals of their software, the founding team worked closely with Italian regulatory experts and this has given them a solid platform to ensure newbie crypto investors stay aligned with their appetite for risk. An integral part of the platform from the outset has been the clear separation of company funds from user deposits — this division now seems more pertinent than ever.
Bitcoin has crashed almost 75% from its record dollar value of around $60,000/BTC, achieved in late-2021. The next 12 months are also predicted to herald a whirlwind of change for global crypto activity.
A tide of bearish sentiment followed 2022's crypto failures, notably the bankrupting of FTX's exchange, a $570 million hack in Binance's bridge and the jailing of former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith for his mystifying decision to attend a crypto meet in North Korea.
Late last year, EU lawmakers voted for new regulations due to enter force in coming months, putting restraints on what has been a relatively free roaming approach to digital asset trading.
Coin issuers will be compelled by the EU's new Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) to provide more information to patrons.
Chief among the new rules is a 14 day cooling off period that will allow buyers to return asset purchases that haven't been traded yet.
The EU will also demand that the inherent risks of trading are elucidated clearly by coin issuers and in layman's terms, through the issuance of white papers.
Somewhat akin to an IPO prospectus, these documents will be required to lay out all relevant information and could be called in by regulators if this knowledge is judged insufficient.
The complexity of the new regulations is likely to spur a wrangle with stakeholders over where precisely the new regulatory oversight should fall - at least one financial services board is urging the EU commission to extend the provisions so they also provide coverage for consultations on buying crypto assets, regulating such advice at the same "standard" as equivalents under the EU's wider financial instruments law (MiFID II).
Wherever the fallout from MiCA ends up landing, the upshot of last year's crypto turmoil means transparency and regulated exchanges are back in vogue, reversing an earlier trend that saw increased offshoring of crypto holdings as customers sought to capitalise on bargain basement fee structures and larger exchange volumes.
Young Platform says that since October, regulated exchanges have clawed back a market share of 30 percentage points.
Andrea Ferrero, Young Platform's CEO, said operational expansion across Europe looked increasingly feasible, with the platform now five years or so into its maturity.
He said: "Young Platform's expansion into Europe is an important step for business growth and represents a new opportunity for anyone interested in the crypto market to access Young Platform's innovative solutions.
"We are excited about this important milestone and look forward to expanding and offering our services to an even wider audience."
The official launch in France also brings a market foothold in one of the EU's leading crypto trading ecosystems.
A survey run by consultancy KPMG on behalf of France's association for the development of digital assets found 8% of French citizens own cryptocurrencies, versus 6.7% who own equity stocks and shares.
Given the bruising suffered by the crypto world recently, Young Platform seems determined to buck the trend by steadily growing its reach to serve more European markets.
The French licence award followed a €16 million funding influx into Young Platform last June, led by Italian asset manager Azimut and aimed at European expansion. Young Platform says entering France marks a major milestone in these plans.
In June 2021, Tech.eu reported on Young Platform's earlier €3.5 million funding round led by Milan's United Ventures, with further contributions from family office Ithaca Investments, Accel scout Luca Ascani, Max Ciociola, and Pietro Invernizzi.