The crypto boom helped fintech Revolut turn a profit for the first time in 2021, according to a long-delayed set of results from one of Europe’s most valuable start-ups.
The London-based company on Wednesday reported a net profit of £26mn in 2021 compared with a £223mn loss the previous year. Revenues in 2021 nearly tripled to £636mn.
Revolut has evolved from a low-fee money transfer service to offer bank accounts across Europe through its Lithuanian banking licence. It is also registered as an e-money institution in the UK. A funding round in the summer of 2021 valued the group at $33bn and ensured it did not have to return to the market as tech valuations crumbled last year.
Approximately a third of its revenues came from its cryptocurrency trading business, Revolut said. The fintech first pushed into crypto in 2017, ahead of most of its rivals.
The group’s number of retail customers jumped by almost 50 per cent to 16.4mn in 2021 and it now has more than 27m. Revenues climbed further in 2022, Revolut said, hitting more than £850mn. The group did not disclose its profitability last year.
“Our profitability in 2021 was despite the economy suffering a significant prolonged shock from global lockdowns, continued travel bans and Covid-19 effects,” said chief executive Nik Storonsky. “At the same time, the accelerated shift to digital services and remote working boosted our number of customers and the amount that they used our app.”
However, Revolut has suffered significant growing pains in its quest to challenge traditional banks. Insiders have revealed a hard-charging culture and the company has been hit by high-profile departures of senior compliance staff.
The group’s auditor, BDO, had been pushing the fintech to improve its internal controls.
Revolut was required to submit accounts for the year ending December 2021 to Companies House in September 2022. The fintech was then given an extension until the end of December — a deadline it has also failed to meet.
A boost for Revolut from crypto is unlikely to have been sustained last year, when prices for multiple digital currencies plunged and FTX, one of the most-hyped players in the nascent industry, collapsed.