People who have wanted to trade standard, so-called fiat currencies for cryptocurrencies – or vice versa – have often faced a number of expensive and cumbersome hurdles. For example, trading euros for bitcoin has often required one to transfer euros to a special stock exchange account, which then handles the trade before transferring the bitcoins to a separate account.
To make this process cheaper, safer and easier, the Berlin-based blockchain banking service Bitwala – in partnership with the German bank solarisBank – recently launched the first fully regulated blockchain bank account which allows users to have a single account for both normal banking transactions as well as sending, receiving, storing and trading bitcoin.
While holding the euro account, using its debit card, and making ATM withdrawals or SEPA transfers are all free, the company charges a 1% commission fee for buying or selling bitcoins – which is much lower than the fee typically charged by stock exchanges.
While depositors’ bitcoin “wallets” linked to the account are not protected, up to EUR 100,000 of their savings in euros are protected under the German deposit protection scheme. “It is the first time ever that users can manage both bitcoin and euro deposits in one place with the safety and convenience of a German bank account,” said the company, which has received EUR 4 million in funding from venture capital investors Earlybird and coparion.