When it comes to education and improvements to the Italian education system, the theme of financial aspects that are not taught in compulsory schools and which are sometimes hardly learned during adulthood always comes back. In fact, the data speak for themselves, so much so that since 2017 the Financial Education Month had to be established in order to fill the gap that exists with respect to other European countries.
However, even in this case, the startup world comes to the rescue, to be precise, a fintech that since 2014 aims to remove barriers to investments by exploiting the innovative power of digitized resources and blockchain technology.
It is Bitpanda, an Austrian company with 3 million customers (1/3 of which were acquired in the last six months) and more than 500 employees from 45 different countries that have just launched Bitpanda Academy, a free e-learning platform for those who want to approach the world of investments.
An innovative method that combines with the resources that the younger generations have to become future citizens more aware of the world around them and the management of their assets. Tiscali Innovazione interviewed Orlando Merone, Country Manager Italy.
Financial education is a very hot topic, especially when you consider young people who receive solid training on the subject during their compulsory school years. Are they the target of the Bitpanda Academy? What should they expect from the platform?
As obvious as it may seem to say, literacy is the keystone of the financial world. Especially in this particular historical moment, it is essential to be able to count on a solid base of knowledge. The old formulas for achieving financial stability are slowly becoming obsolete and must continually be updated.
We’ve always been educated to think it’s better if other people take care of our money, but things have changed. We sleep much more soundly if we are in control of our finances and understand where our money is going. Financial literacy is key to us at Bitpanda – it’s not enough to give people the tools without showing them how to use them. It is on this very purpose that the Bitpanda Academy is based.
There are tons of videos on YouTube today that explain the basics. You don’t need to know everything in detail, but you need to get informed to make the most appropriate decisions for your needs. Promoting financial literacy by addressing topical issues, even among the very young, would really change people’s conception of investments, including those in cryptocurrencies, positively influencing their adoption.
The target audience of the Bitpanda Academy is absolutely normal people, ranging from high school kids who are learning what they could invest when they turn 18 to people who think of digital assets as part of a strategy to bridge their pension gap.
There are many platforms that promise to teach the basics of finance. How does the Bitpanda Academy stand out? What is the promise made to its users?
First of all, we offer an incentive to people who complete the Bitpanda Academy lessons: we give, in fact, € 5 in BEST to each Bitpanda user who passes the quiz with a percentage of correct answers. The test can be repeated until it is passed so that the user can continue learning. Secondly, the Bitpanda Academy is free, but it is also regularly updated.
We started with the lessons for beginners, now we have added the intermediate level; we have an entire section dedicated to personal finance and will soon be adding content for more experienced users.
As an investment platform, Bitpanda’s goal is to educate its users to give them the opportunity to start investing, being able to become protagonists of their own financial future. Through our Bitpanda Academy, we promote in-depth training and thoughtful investment choices, discouraging risky investments based on luck. Investment platforms offer users tools to facilitate investments; they must not become places for reckless betting.
Democratize investment activities. What does this formula mean, and what is Bitpanda doing to make it possible?
Democratization has now become an inflated word, but its meaning remains very simple: democratizing for us means making accessible something that unfortunately still is not today. Our goal is to make it easy, even something that may seem complicated on the surface.
Over the past 7 years, we have been committed to achieving this, and we want to continue in this direction, applying our philosophy to all types of asset classes for any type of investor. Let’s look at the recent developments in the financial markets. It is really interesting to note how many online communities have gained more and more influence on the volatility and direction that certain assets can take. What we are witnessing could indeed be a historical shift, the shift of power from finance elite to retail investors – and that’s just the beginning.
Cryptocurrencies were born with the aim of democratizing finance, and this phenomenon is now also reaching the stock market, catching many by surprise. In the end, the Internet wins.
Bitpanda in 2022. What are the goals and plans for the future?
Our biggest goal in Italy is to hire new staff, as we need to bring new talents on board to create a really strong team. In addition to this, on the business front, we are entering into agreements with new partners to extend the adoption of our Bitpanda White Label Solution, which allows fintech, traditional banks, and online platforms to offer their customers investments in digital assets.
Last month we formalized the first agreement with Fabrick – a leader in Italy in open banking – with which we aim to become the first provider of digital infrastructure for investments in Italy and beyond. More recently, we acquired the first Italian institutional client for our Bitpanda Pro exchange service by signing an important partnership with The Rock Trading, the longest-running European trading platform. Bitpanda Pro will allow the Italian platform to easily integrate with its exchange through cutting-edge APIs, ensuring a safe and reliable exchange experience.