Kiwis’ enthusiasm for brushing up on their financial and shares knowledge during lockdown extended to a newfound love of cryptocurrencies, with NZ-founded digital currency retailer Easy Crypto reporting strong sales and large increases in investments.
Janine Grainger ()pictured), co-founder and newly appointed global CEO and head of New Zealand operations, says a number of people spent in the hundreds of thousands of dollars purchasing digital currency through Easy Crypto during lockdown.
“We’ve also had individual customers that have invested more than a million dollars during lockdown,” Grainger says.
The big spenders aren’t long-time cryptocurrency players, either. “Many are fairly new to cryptocurrency,” Grainger says. “I’ve spoken to all of them, and they have been doing their research, getting educated and familiar with the concept and were looking for a trustworthy, safe way to get involved.”
Covid-19 prompted a spike in first-time stock market investors according to recent reports. Concerns about finances – and having some time on their hands – saw many Kiwis using the lockdown period to learn how to invest.
Easy Crypto, meanwhile, has seen a steady increase in the average size of customer orders, along with the lifetime customer value. “The average order is now $1150, but saying that, we have plenty of customers starting small with just $40.”
Grainger says cryptocurrency is increasingly seen as a way to diversify portfolios, with many customers keen to see KiwiSaver providers also investing in cryptocurrency.
“In Australia they allow self-managed super funds where people manage their own KiwiSaver equivalent, which we have set up to accommodate – and we’re seeing a huge increase in people bringing their super funds to digital currency there. But we’re also getting a lot of interest from Kiwis who are asking us if there are any KiwiSaver providers who invest in crypto.
“There is definitely a lot of interest and internationally we’re seeing a lot of institutional investors diversify into cryptocurrency, so there’s precedent.”
Only 21 million bitcoins are available globally. Says Grainger: “If everyone in New Zealand bought $40 worth they would have their share of the total bitcoin pie. Anything more than that is a bonus, over and above your global share.”
Grainger co-founded the Kiwi cryptocurrency retailer in 2018 with brother Alan Grainger. The company has since expanded into Australia and South Africa and has a team of 25 staff across seven countries.
Grainger’s decision to step away from her role as strategy manager for Air New Zealand and concentrate full-time on Easy Crypto comes as the company’s sales figures pass $80 million, with more than 15,000 Kiwis using the full-service digital currency retailer.
The high growth has also seen Easy Crypto reduce its fees.
“With such huge increases in volumes, we’re now in a position to reduce our margin and enable our customers to reap some of the benefits of our success,” Grainger says.
The company is also growing strongly in Australia, where it launched in 2019, and in South Africa, where it started earlier this year and has already seen significant month on month growth in customers and transactions.
Grainger’s appointment as global CEO will see her working with the team to deliver the strategy for the global business. The company is gearing up to launch operations in more countries across Africa and into South America.
“We want to bring change to the world and financial equality to places where people don’t have that.”