Big things are happening with Bitcoin in Cyprus.
Neo & Bee, a pair of businesses working in tandem, are making Bitcoin a lot easier to adopt in the island nation by opening physical locations that look and act a whole lot like banks.
That’s the Neo part of the business. Neo branches, the first of which opened Monday after an ambitious media campaign, will allow customers to deposit their Bitcoins into Neo-managed accounts.
You know, like banks. The difference is Neo doesn’t charge you to move your digital currency to a paper wallet, and it doesn’t lend money, at least at the moment. Instead, Neo holds all deposits in full BTC reserves, even if customers deposit euros.
In fact, Neo even allows customers to peg their accounts to the euro to minimize the risk of currency fluctuation.
Bee is the payment processing arm of the business.
Together, they both appear to offer a much cleaner, familiar interface for the Bitcoin economy. Anyone who’s ever opened a bank account could understand Bitcoin through the Neo & Bee system.
To kickstart Neo’s opening, the company bought ad space in some of Cyprus’ biggest newspapers, complete with front-page wrappers.
It’s not a coincidence that CEO Danny Brewster chose Cyprus as his business’ launchpad. This is where the 2012/2013 banking crisis significantly undermined a lot of people’s faith in the existing banking system.
At the moment, Neo & Bee’s services are only available to Cyprus residents, but Brewster has said that he has plans to roll out the company internationally.