eToro's Founder On Buying Bitcoin In 2011, US Expansion, How Dinner With Warren Buffett Changed His Life

Yoni Assia, the founder and CEO of eToro joined Benzinga’s PreMarket Prep this week.

Israel-based eToro is a trading platform that became popular because it was an early adopter of cryptocurrency trading. Now the platform is expanding into the U.S. market and branching out into stock trading.

Focusing On Crypto: Assia and eToro decided to start the platform by focusing primarily on cryptocurrency trading, and the company even invested in bitcoin at a price of around $5 back in 2011.

Related Link: Bolton Says Trump Wanted Mnuchin To 'Go After Bitcoin' For Fraud: Report

“When I saw bitcoin for the first time in 2010 and I made a couple of transactions on the bitcoin protocol, I immediately fell in love with the fact that everything settles, reconciles and clears in real time," Assia told Benzinga.

"When I made my first bitcoin transaction, I always say it was very similar to when I connected to the internet for the first time back in '95. It was like an "a-ha" moment, saying 'wow, you can actually move money online in real time, globally,' and I fell in love with the technology.” 

Bitcoin Bubble: During the bitcoin bubble in 2017, eToro went from opening about 200 new funded accounts per day to opening 20,000 new accounts per day.

“We went 100x. We had to hire like crazy ... it was exciting because it really prepared us for what we saw this year. We always say there’s two pivotal moments that we’ve seen — we saw the crypto rally and we are seeing the corona rally,” he said.

The company originally focused on the European market before expanding to Asia and then launching cryptocurrency trading in the U.S.  

“You can trade 15 of the top cryptocurrencies, which represent 90% of the market cap and volume [in the crypto markets]. You can copy top traders on the platform who generate significant returns and beat the crypto indices,” Assia said of eToro. 

The platform plans to launch commission-free stock trading in the U.S. in 2021.

Assia's Dinner With Buffett: Earlier this year, cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun paid $4.6 million as part of a charity auction to have dinner with legendary Wall Street investor and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) CEO Warren Buffett.

Buffett has long been a critic of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and Assia was one of Sun’s guests at the charity dinner with Buffett.

Assia, who is also a big fan of stock investing, asked Buffett if he thinks he could repeat his historical success of the past 50 years over the next 30 to 50 years.

“He tells me I’d probably make more because I know more. Capital markets work. If you understand how capital markets work, if you invest in companies you believe in, if you analyze the financial results of these companies and understand their moat, you can and will generate double-digit returns in the next 30 to 50 years,” Assia said.

Bullish On Bitcoin: The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (Btc) GBTC is up 52% in 2020, and Assia said he sees more upside ahead for bitcoin and ethereum.

“I’m bullish around crypto markets. I think the long-term macro view of both BTC and ETH are very good ... I very much believe it should be a part of your portfolio.”

Watch to the full interview with Yoni Assia in the clip below, or listen to the podcast here

PreMarket Prep is a daily trading show hosted by prop trader Dennis Dick and former floor trader Joel Elconin. You can watch PreMarket Prep live every day from 8-9 a.m. ET Benzinga's YouTube channel, and the podcast is on SpotifyiTunesGoogle PlaySoundcloudStitcher and Tunein.

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