VPE WertpapierhandelsBank AG (VPE), a German securities trading bank, has partnered with Berlin-based technology company solarisBank to launch a cryptocurrency trading service for institutional investors, according to a VPE press release April 25.

VPE is regulated by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and is purportedly the first bank in the country to offer a cryptocurrency trading service. According to a statement on the bank’s website, the service is available “exclusively to institutional and professional clients”, although a private client may ask in writing to be to be considered a professional client. Katharina Strenski, Public Relations Manager at VPE, commented:

"Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH) and others have become a promising asset class in recent years. To date, trading digital tokens has been restricted to crypto exchanges and online marketplaces. We are pleased to be the first German bank to offer our customers cryptocurrency trading services."

The product was developed in collaboration with solarisBank, a technology company that makes digital banking platforms. VPE also states that customers will have access to a wallet hosted by the bank.

Earlier this month, sources told Bloomberg that international investment bank Barclays was conducting a preliminary assessment as to whether client interest was sufficient to open a cryptocurrency trading desk.

In March, Russian state-owned Gazprombank announced plans to pilot digital currency transactions in Switzerland. According to the bank, Switzerland was chosen due to its more liberal cryptocurrency legislation.