Despite recent setbacks in the country, a German bank has become the first worldwide to offer Bitcoin trading directly linked to a regular bank account in the traditional banking system.
Munich-based Fidor Bank has extended its partnership with German Bitcoin marketplace Bitcoin.de to offer its customers the option to send and receive BTC payments directly from bank account to bank account. The move comes in tandem with Fidor’s expansion into the US, where it will seek to offer similar services in permissible states.
‘Express’ Bitcoin Trading Option
Fidor has been working with Bitcoin.de since last July, when it agreed to offer liability support to enable the service to operate within the current financial regulatory framework. Now, with the launch of its Bitcoin Express Trading option, bank clients are able to buy and sell bitcoins nearly instantly – with the security and financial protection that hitherto have accompanied fiat transactions.
Fidor claims it is keen to remove the barriers to entry caused by unregulated exchanges lacking consumer protection in the event of theft or technical problems.
The bank states in a press release issued today:
“The numerous bankruptcies witnessed from foreign Bitcoin exchanges in the past prove that this is no theoretical risk. With Bitcoin.de funds are always held in the customer’s own bank account, which at Fidor bank includes statutory deposit insurance equal to 100,000 euros per customer.”
The opening of the express trading service means the partnership can offer the fastest secure Bitcoin trading facilities in Europe, all backed by the corresponding regulatory compliance. Fidor states that this was possible through “one and a half years of development, taking regulatory requirements into account and filing of general terms and conditions.”
“Above all in an innovative environment like Bitcoin our highest priority has to be providing security and sustainability for the users of this service,” CEO Matthias Kroener said, describing the move as “a further milestone in digital banking.”
Germany has recently become a rocky environment for cryptocurrency. Only in December, fellow marketplace Localbitcoins was forced to suspend operations in the country following a shift in regulatory attitudes, but has since been able to continue. Eyes will therefore be focusing on Fidor and Bitcoin.de in the hope of providing longevity to what is certainly Bitcoin’s biggest step towards the regulated banking industry so far witnessed in Germany.
Bitcoin.de CEO, Oliver Flaskaemper, acknowledges the challenges faced locally but remains confident. “With the right partners, more is possible in Germany than one might think,” he commented.
Move into the US
Fidor meanwhile has teamed up with an as yet unnamed partner to offer its branchless banking facilities in the US market. Exact details of what will be on offer have also yet to be revealed, but will most likely be centered around its Web 2.0 services, which include instant international money transactions facilitated through Ripple, Payments Source reports.
“The reason that a lot of very successful fintech startups are happening in the U.S.. It’s not only because there are so many talented people setting up those businesses,” Kroener explained regarding the plans. “It is also because there is a huge gap and demand in innovative services.”
Accompanying the US plans will be “the logical step to offer the full Fidor-stack” in the UK, Kroener added, in addition to the remainder of the Eurozone, as well as Brazil, Russia, India and China “within the next few years.”