German Payments Startup Bitwala Offering Crypto Banking Services

Bitwala cryptocurrency blockchain bitcoin

A blockchain payments startup in Germany is offering customers access to a suite of crypto banking services, in the first launch of its kind in Europe.

Bitwala announced the service this week, in partnership with SolarisBank, a fully regulated and licensed local fintech firm.

The launch allows Bitwala to provide regulated banking services for cryptocurrency customers nationwide, combining bitcoin and euro holdings in a single account for the first time.

The service will allow customers to manage their fiat and bitcoin deposits without the need for a separate crypto wallet, with a fully functional bank account offering “safety and convenience” for transactions.

Customers will be issued a debit card, available free of charge alongside the bank account, which can be used for ATM withdrawals and payments in the usual way.

Crucially, deposits in the account benefit from deposit protection laws up to €100,000, in the same way as deposits in any other German bank account, offering a new layer of protection for customers over storing funds on an external exchange or wallet service.

With all basic account services available free of charge, customers can trade bitcoin through the account with fees of just one percent.

Jan Goslicki, chief compliance officer and co-founder at Bitwala, said the service demonstrates how cryptocurrencies can fit within traditional banking systems.

“We were able to bring cryptocurrencies into a fully compliant banking setup regulated in Germany. This shows that cryptocurrencies can fit into regulatory frameworks which protect consumers and ultimately inspire trust.”

Bitwala is already on-boarding some 40,000 customers who had pre-registered for the service, as well as inviting new account customers with immediate effect.

According to a statement from the firm, the service will allow customers to pay rent, receive salaries and trade in bitcoin from the same account, with the same functionality as any other standard bank account.

The launch follows a $4.5-million investment round in Bitwala back in September. At the time, Jörg von Minckwitz, president of Bitwala, said the firm would work to boost mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies by offering full crypto banking services.

“I’m very proud that, with our new product, we will close the gap between crypto and traditional banking and solve one of the biggest hurdles on the road to mainstream adoption.”