Exclusive: Oddo BHF to invest in Coinhouse

Exclusive: Oddo BHF to invest in Coinhouse

The Franco-German bank, which is looking to distribute crypto products to its customers, could invest €8 million in the French platform.

👉 L'actu. The Franco-German institution could invest €8 million in France's largest crypto platform.

👉 Why it matters. Oddo BHF would be the first French bank to position itself clearly in cryptos.

👉 The context. Banks are increasingly being asked by their customers to access cryptos.

It's a deal that could make a lot of noise. According to our information, Franco-German private bank Oddo BHF is negotiating its entry into the capital of French cryptocurrency platform Coinhouse.

The amount of the investment is said to be around €8 million.

The tie-up between Coinhouse and Oddo BHF, which manages more than €100 billion in assets, began last February as part of an extension of the crypto start-up's latest fundraising (series B). Coinhouse had raised €15 million in December, but the bank's expressions of interest convinced its boss Nicolas Louvet to open the door to this prestigious investor. "You can't turn down an opportunity like this," says a good industry insider.

Oddo BHF is not the only candidate and other players are also in negotiations to invest in the French nugget. If an agreement is reached, certain shareholders such as the True Global Ventures fund (TGV), XAnge (already an investor in Ledger or Sorare), CF Partners, Raise Venture as well as the founder of Coinhouse and Ledger, Éric Larchevêque, could also put their money back into the pot.

With this deal, the crypto platform created in 2014 under the name "La Maison du Bitcoin" could recoup several tens of millions of euros witha valuation in excess of €150 million. This new money would enable Coinhouse to continue developing its brand outside France in order to establish itself as the first "European crypto-bank", as Nicolas Louvet has been fond of reminding us over the past few months.

Growing customer demand

Oddo is not the first French bank to take an interest in cryptos. Some institutions have been experimenting for several years, such as Société Générale and its Forge subsidiary or Delubac & Cie, which has just obtained its registration as a digital asset service provider (DASP), but no French bank has so far made a direct investment. Even in Europe, this type of operation is unheard of for a bank. At least officially.

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Only American banks have already invested in players in the sector. Goldman Sachs has invested in Circle and Blockdaemon, while JP Morgan has taken a stake in Consensys, one of the leading Ethereum development studios.

For Oddo BHF, this investment would be much more than just a stake. Like many European banks, the institution 65% controlled by the French Oddo family is increasingly in demand from its wealthy clients who want to get a foothold in the crypto market, which has exploded since the start of the Covid crisis. It has grown from $200 billion to almost $2,000 billion in two years.

The demands of Oddo BHF's clients vary widely: they range from simple exposure to bitcoin, to more complex products to access the juicy returns of decentralised finance. However, it remains complicated for a bank to offer to invest in and hold crypto-assets on behalf of third parties. There is both a question of risk and... skills. Hence the tie-up with Coinhouse, which would handle the "plumbing" and custody of cryptos.

Since its creation in 2015, the French leader in the sector, which has 90 employees, has gradually expanded its offering. Today, as well as allowing individuals to buy and sell around 50 cryptocurrencies, the AMF-regulated broker also offers products such as crypto savings books, managed investment and crypto storage solutions for individuals and businesses.

The deal would enable Coinhouse, which claims 500,000 customers, to change scale. Both financially and geographically. Oddo has more than 60,000 individual and institutional customers (investment funds, insurers, etc.) in around ten countries. The bank, which has 2,500 employees, has a strong presence in Germany and Switzerland, where it has offices in Frankfurt and Zurich. These are markets that Coinhouse intends to capitalise on.

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