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Eric Demuth


Co-founder/co-CEO, Bitpanda

RULEMAKER No. 8

Being the CEO of a young 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 “trade everything” platform Bitpanda, is now in the same position. His 7-year-old company, funded by Thiel, helps 3 million European users to invest and trade in cryptocurrencies, regular stocks and precious metals. Bitpanda’s latest funding round, in August last year, valued the company at $4.1 billion.

While Facebook was a mature company when it had to tackle regulation, Demuth, who used to be a mechanic on container ships, has had to navigate it right away in order to grow the company further. Scaling in Europe is a challenge for every company due to the patchwork of rules, but even more for crypto and fintech companies, Demuth has said. “Everyone thinks, ‘Oh yeah, Europe,’ but it’s not Europe. It’s 27 individual countries with an unharmonized way of financial regulation.”

Demuth will also have to keep an eye on the chorus of regulators demanding more regulation for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. A full crackdown might be a setback for Demuth, as he started Bitpanda to facilitate the handling of cryptocurrencies: “Frustrated by how hard it was to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Eric then co-founded Bitpanda in 2014 on the idea that everyone would have the same access to the financial world,” a company-provided bio of Demuth reads. The next year will be decisive for Demuth’s idea and execution.

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

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

Influence score: 18/30

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