“It is incredibly important that we in the industry have companies like Penning & Firi where there are quality substance and experienced people behind them. This means that we as Nordic & European companies within Crypto and Blockchain can help each other and work together, to make things more accessible to everyone. Firi, the largest in the Nordics, is registered with both the Norwegian and Danish financial supervisory authorities and have operated in the Nordics since 2017. So for both Firi and Penning, where there is a focus on compliance, security and simple processes for both private individuals and businesses, the presence of strong players in The Nordic & European region in general, is a very important part of the ecosystem. I was already in conversations with Firi in connection with their entry into the Danish market, where I got a deeper insight into their “engine room”, team and platform. It was crucial for us that the on-off ramp of FIAT currency could be done easily and smoothly via our Danish bank connection, and that the regulations we apply and are subject to via the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority on a daily basis were aligned.” Jimmie Steinbeck, CEO @Penning A/S
Penning A/S recently signed up with Firi, the Nordics largest consumer-oriented crypto exchange, to offer its local institutional investors better transactions and validation processes, directly between accounts. Firi and Penning both share the same vision; to democratize access to crypto space, while Penning builds the bridge to the DeFi space for institutional investors. The Pen team sat down with Firi’s country manager Karina Rothoff Brix to share her views on this growing space.
1. WHEN AND WHY DID FIRI ENTER THE DANISH MARKET?
Firi entered the Danish market in July 2022. Firi has great success in Norway with its local, safe, and easy-to-use approach. The ambition of getting everyone (tech-savvy or not) on board in the crypto and web3 space is the overall ambition and thus entering Denmark in summer 2022 and planning an entrance in Sweden later this year were the next milestones for Firi. Knowing that Denmark in general has a very tech-savvy population and a great IT infrastructure, Firi wanted to give the Danes a convenient way of investing in crypto.
2. WHAT LEGAL CHALLENGES DID FIRI HAVE TO DEAL WITH AND BELIEVE OTHERS FROM THE CRYPTO COMMUNITY ALSO FACE?
Firi clearly had an advantage towards the Danish FSA as Firi got registered by the Norwegian FSA back in 2019. But in terms of legal challenges in general Firi, as many others in the space spend a lot of resources in documenting the compliance and AML procedures because the space is unknown to a lot. However, it is important to emphasize that the entire crypto industry is still in rapid development and that everything linked to our existing systems, regulation, culture, and power relations will have to find its place in the coming years. It's an industry built on a purpose to change the status quo in many ways, and it's going to do that, none of us knows how yet.
“As words like web 3 and metaverse become widely known, we see that what used to be for the few geeks and the future fantasists have now become topics that more and more people are curious about. It is no longer discussions about whether it will even be a part of the future, but discussions about how and what we as an existing society must be ready for in the future. We also see that, in contrast to other bear markets, there are not nearly as many people leaving crypto and that there actually are more new ones entering the space, not only as investors but also within the development of new products and solutions, which is a huge force of innovation.” – Karina Rothoff Brix, Dk’s Country Manager @firi
3. HOW CAN CRYPTO COMPANIES CONTRIBUTE TO A POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORDIC/DANISH CRYPTO "SOCIETY"?
The open-minded and community-based way that a lot of crypto companies are working can help the society in its entirety. The majority of the serious players in this emerging industry are in it because they want to provide our global society with a more equal, decentralized, and secure digital infrastructure.
4. WHERE DO YOU SEE DANISH CRYPTO SCALEUPS BE? WILL THEY STAY IN THE NORDIC REGION OR WILL IT BE NECESSARY TO THEIR HQ'S?
It depends on the political landscape in Denmark. For the time being I think Denmark is already lacking behind in terms of both public support, awareness and willingness to see both blockchain and crypto and essential building blocks for the global digital development.
5. HOW OPEN DO YOU THINK THE LOCAL (NORDIC) INVESTMENT COMMUNITY IS TO CRYPTO/DEFI COMPANIES?
The sentiments have definitely changed for the better in terms of interest in technology and as the investment community sees that the industry is growing at a rapid pace abroad. But we still have a long way to go. More investors are now curious and want to know more and this has definitely changed since a couple of years ago, when crypto was only a scam in a lot of investors’ minds.
6. ANY FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW INVESTORS CAN GET MORE ENGAGED IN THIS GROWING SPACE?
Reach out to the space more as a lot in the space really wants to educate and explain this new industry. Connect with the players and accept that the investment networks might need an advisor that can help explain crypto/blockchain projects and support/challenge them in their decisions Participate in the events in the space to learn more about the different people, companies and trends.
“Increasing curiosity, more use cases, a new generation who are used to the gamer world and much more user-friendly access to crypto, then we have the ingredients for a very soon "mass adoption". However, my bet is that those who will see the most traction are those who are able to make web 3 etc. convenient and safe for the consumer...because the innovation is not going to change basic human behavior.” – Karina Rothoff Brix, Dk Country Manager @firi