German blockchain banking firm Bitwala has partnered with pioneering decentralized finance, or DeFi, platform Celsius to offer annual interest on Bitcoin (BTC) holdings of up to 4%.

Funds deposited from customers who opt to use Bitwala’s Bitcoin Interest Account will be loaned to institutional borrowers via Celsius, earning weekly interest on their Bitcoin in the form of BTC.

German blockchain bank integrates Celsius

Bitwala frames DeFi as “a new way to generate wealth,” emphasizing the opportunity for passive income to be generated from crypto holdings.

Users can deposit from $12 worth of Bitcoin into Bitwala’s interest accounts, and are able to add and withdraw funds at any time. Only network fees are incurred through using the account, with investments and withdrawals processed without cost to the user.

Celsius has facilitated over $6.2 billion since launching during June 2018, with the firm providing loans to a network of over 150 institutional borrowers. Celsius takes 20% of the interest earned on user funds, paying the remaining 80% directly to users.

The returns generated by the app change slightly each week in response to market dynamics.

DeFi lending as catalyst for mainstream adoption

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Celsius’ founder, VoIP patent-holder and renowned internet entrepreneur, Alex Mashinky, stated that the DeFi platform was conceived “to create something that will bring more utility and create less volatility” and drive widespread adoption.

With global economic conditions deteriorating and banking interests rapidly diminishing, Mashinky argues that offering easy access to interest income unlocks a multi-billion person market for crypto.

“Seven billion people want to earn yield and want to earn interest. If you could just do that, and do it ten, twenty, fifty times better than your bank, and you build trust — that's how you win [people] over.”