Finovate Global: CFDs, Licenses, and the Latest on Crypto in Central and Eastern Europe

One of my biggest takeaways from my conversations about digital assets with delegates at FinovateEurope last month was the idea that new use cases will be among the first signs that the industry has emerged from so-called “crypto winter.”

That bar is likely years away from being cleared. In the meanwhile, crypto exchanges continue to expand access to digital assets for traders and investors. Today’s edition of Finovate Global looks at recent developments in the cryptocurrency and digital asset industries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

Austria-based Bitpanda announced this week that it now offers CFDs – contracts for difference – for trading cryptocurrencies. CFDs are available for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana on Bitpanda’s platform. These products enable cryptocurrency traders and investors to speculate on both rising and falling prices. The new offering, on the platform under the appropriate name “Bitpanda Leverage,” also gives cryptocurrency traders the ability to leverage their trades 2x.

According to coverage in The Paypers, Bitpanda is well aware of both the risk of “complex financial instruments” like CFDs and the “high risk of losing money” they often bring to traders’ portfolios. Bitpanda also acknowledges that the new products are more suited to short-term trading than longer-term investing. The CFDs have been available to a limited number of Bitpanda customers since late 2022. This week, the company is announcing that the products are being made available to all traders on the Bitpanda app.

CFD trading is not as regulated as trading in other financial products like stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). As such, CFD trading is illegal in the U.S. and U.S. residents are forbidden from opening CFD accounts. The derivatives are traded in markets in the Euro Zone, however, as well as in the U.K., Switzerland, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand, among others.

There are many ways in which Ukraine, which continues to defend itself from Russia’s invasion more than a year ago, is seeking greater integration with its neighbors to the West. This week we can add cryptocurrency regulatory policy to that list.

Ukrainian regulatory authorities announced this week that they would adopt the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation just passed by the European Parliament. Heralded as a major advancement for the cryptocurrency industry in Europe, MiCA seeks to provide uniform regulations and standardized rules for digital assets in the E.U. At present, companies in the cryptocurrency space in the region must negotiate 27 different regulatory frameworks – crippling efficiency and limiting innovation.

“We, along with colleagues from the NKCPFR (National Commission for Securities and the Stock Market) and other regulators, are already working on implementing some provisions of MiCA to make crypto assets legal in Ukraine,” Yaroslav Zheleznyak said. Zheleznyak is the Deputy Chairman of the Tax Committee of Ukraine.

Cryptocurrencies have played an interesting role in Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression. An article at the World Economic Forum last month noted that more than $21 million in cryptocurrency has been donated to pro-Ukrainian war efforts. According to blockchain analytics company Elliptic, $80 million of that amount went directly to support the Ukrainian government.

Cryptocurrency investors and traders in Lithuania have a new exchange to do business with. Crypto exchange Bitget, which is based in the Seychelles, announced this week that it has secured its registration in Lithuania. This will enable Bitget to offer its service in or from the central European nation.

Analysts consider Lithuania to be among the leading countries in the European Union when it comes to legislation helping develop the cryptocurrencyindustry. The country has been praised for the clarity and transparency of its regulations regarding cryptocurrency licensing – as well as a shorter licensing process compared to other countries in the E.U.

“The global regulation of digital assets is advancing on a daily basis, and we actively observe the regulatory changes around the globe,” Managing Director of the Bitget exchange Gracy Chen said. “We have a whole dedicated compliance team in place to focus on various regulatory compliance matters.” In its statement, the company noted that its compliance team has grown by 50% in the last 12 months. Bitget also recently launched a $300 million user protection fund.

Founded in 2018, Bitget serves more than eight million users in more than 100 countries and regions.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.


Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean

Photo by Anthony Beck