Signs of adoption - Brazil´s largest digital bank launches crypto service
Nubank, the largest digital bank in Brazil, has just launched a crypto platform
Digital banks and fintech are disrupting the banking industry and completely changing the way people interact with money. Hence, it wasn't surprising to learn that Nubank was launching a crypto platform.
I haven't tried it yet, and I will definitely not be adopting it, but I feel like exploring it to do a more in-depth review in a future post.
For now, I want to explore how this new service has been received by Nubank's userbase, what it means for crypto adoption in the country and how it can reflect in South America and possibly the world.
What is Nubank?
Nubank is the biggest digital bank in Brazil by market value, and it was one of the most important players in the disruption of the banking industry in Brazil.
Founded in 2013, Nubank drastically changed how Brazilian people engage with banking activities. As a part of the first 1% of Nubank customers, I witnessed firsthand how they changed the industry, and, despite not being the first player in this [market, they are definitely the benchmark for the competition in the segment.
I don't know how the experience with non-digital banks in other parts of the world is, but here it is not the best one, at least in my opinion. Going to a physical agency to deal with simple things that could be taken care of in a couple of minutes was definitely not the best use of my time. Getting hundreds of calls by my account manager trying to push me crappy products that I definitely didn't need wasn't good either, so I'm glad Nubank solved all that.
One fun fact about this is that I once attended an event where one of the founders of Nubank was the keynote speaker. He said that when pitching the idea to potential investors, more than one told him that this would never work because people prefer face-to-face engagements when it comes to their banking needs. He never disclosed these guys' identities, but they must feel silly nowadays.
Nubank goes crypto
Nubank Cripto was launched in May 2022 with the promise of democratizing access to cryptocurrency by removing the complexity of the market so everyone can easily join in. Anyone who has been in crypto for more than a couple of months know that "removing the complexity" is quite a bold statement, but Nubank has the reputation of doing just that to traditional banking, so I guess they were counting on that when they decided to take the plunge into the "crazy world of cryptocurrencies", to quote the Cryptomaniacs.
But how has that worked so far? Pretty good, actually. A lot better than expected.
Nubank's crypto platform recently reached 1M users, a milestone that they were expecting to reach 1 year after launch but actually took them 1 month.
Nubank Cripto impact on the crypto universe
It's hard to predict exactly where it goes from here because how many of those 1M users will actually stick around? It's entirely possible that they are only curious to see what is this crypto thing that everyone is talking about.
On the other hand, the fact that the user acquisition rate surpassed Nubank's most optimistic expectations - and during what is being called a crypto winter - is not something to be ignored.
Veteran crypto users are well aware that counting on centralized institutions to handle their crypto is not the best idea (Not Your Keys, Not Your Crypto) and Nubank is as centralized as it gets, but I believe they can be a gateway for people to take their first steps in crypto and evolve from there.
Crypto still has a "bad name" among the so-called "normies," and having solid institutions with a good reputation backing it up can be good for the first stages of adoption.
The most significant portion of Nubank's user base is in Brazil, but they also have a substantial number of users in other countries in Latin America, such as Mexico and Argentina, so their new platform may influence crypto adoption in other countries as well.
I'm not a fan of banks and definitely not going to pay them to manage my crypto, but I think Nubank's move into the world of crypto is an important milestone for crypto adoption. As I said before, they are the benchmark for digital banks, fin techs and, in a way, even for traditional banks, so I'm sure it won't take long for other institutions to follow them and start promoting crypto services as well.
Things are starting to move a little faster every day.
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