Financial Institution Crypto Strategies: Volksbank Bitcoin

Status: 04/30/2022 3:16 p.m.

Many bank customers are waiting to get cryptocurrencies from their bank. In fact, more and more German banks are expanding their offerings for private investors.

A cooperative bank is a pioneer: the Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte eG has had its own crypto offer for a few days. The Volksbank offers its 174,000 customers bitcoins for sale. The regional bank relies exclusively on the oldest cryptocurrency. “In our opinion, bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that offers sufficient security against manipulation. All other crypto values ​​cannot be compared to bitcoin because they are not sufficiently decentralized”, explains Andreas Streb, vice president of the bank’s board of directors.

Also a machine in planning

“We don’t want to expose our clients to the risk of running into dubious providers, but rather offer added value as a reputable financial service provider with well-founded services,” says Streb. In particular, the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, which is often classified as pure speculation, is becoming increasingly important as an alternative investment.

With the new offering, crypto-trained employees are also starting. “During discussions with our members and clients, we have found that there is a great need for information on investing in Bitcoins. Since we want to be the first point of contact for all financial matters in the region, we now offer a secure and convenient solution for this,” says Chairman of the Board Richard L. Riedmaier.

In addition, Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte eG wants to set up a Bitcoin machine for its customers in the main office in Ingolstadt from July. Euro banknotes can then be exchanged there for bitcoins from the summer.

Bitcoin coin |  photo alliance / CHROMORANGE

The “cold wallet” storage method

The Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte has opted for the “cold wallet” storage method: With the “VR-BitcoinGoCard”, the customer receives a storage medium for his bitcoins and his individual private key. This gives him the ability to buy and manage bitcoins. The card allows the private key to be stored offline at your own risk. There is also no risk of hacker attack.

Savings banks decide in summer

And when will customers of German savings banks be able to buy cryptocurrencies via their account? “There will be a decision on this by the middle of the year,” says Wiebke Schwarze, spokesperson for the German Savings Banks and Money Transfers Association (DSGV). Committees have been discussing the future for months. The media also reported a leadership dispute within the organization.

“Cryptocurrencies are not investments that savings banks want to offer their customers,” Bavarian savings bank chairman Ulrich Reuter said. The statement comes from an interview with the news agency Bloomberg. And DSGV chairman Helmut Schleweis made only a cautious statement at the balance sheet press conference in March. It is therefore not yet certain that the savings banks will follow suit. In the end, the regional principle decides. Thus, each institute can decide for itself what is offered to customers.

EU flag |  dapd

EU rules for the crypto market

Uniform cryptographic standards must prevail in the European Union in the future. The EU wants to present a new set of rules in the coming months. The crypto document is mainly intended to clarify these questions: what requirements must a supplier meet in order to be able to sell crypto products? What is the best protection for investors? What happens if cryptos are stolen in a hacker attack? The new set of rules should provide all the answers to these questions.

For business customers only

Commerzbank is the first major German bank to announce that it has applied for a so-called crypto custody license with BaFin, the federal agency responsible for overseeing financial services. But the procedure is also clear: Commerzbank only targets institutional customers, i.e. professional customers – private customers are initially left out. The bank is the twenty-fifth company to file such a request with the regulator.

Commerzbank has thus dared to take a strategic step that has been in preparation for years. The money house is still stubbornly silent on detailed plans for the future. In a written statement, the bank shares in a nutshell: he wants to contribute to shaping the market for “custody and trading of intangible assets”.

According to the Frankfurt headquarters, Commerzbank has entered into a cooperation with Deutsche Börse and Fintech 360x in the spring of 2021. Customers can expect to learn more about the concrete offers that the big bank is planning for the future, perhaps in the near future. of the next general meeting.

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