Germany-based crypto payments startup Bitwala is now offering crypto banking services in the country.
Claiming the launch is Europe’s first such banking solution, the firm announced Wednesday the service becomes available via a partnership with local fintech firm SolarisBank that has a banking license and thus is fully regulated.
Users can now manage both bitcoin and euro deposits in one place with the “safety and convenience” of the German bank account, Bitwala said. Accounts and debit cards are free, though it charges a one-percent transaction fee for trading bitcoin.
Euro deposits of up to €100,000 (or $113,257) are protected by local laws like any other traditional bank accounts in Germany, the firm added.
Jan Goslicki, Bitwala’s chief compliance officer and co-founder, said:
“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.”
The firm said it has started on-boarding 40,000 customers who pre-registered for the service and will be accepting new users with immediate effect.
Customers will also be able to use their Bitwala crypto accounts to receive salaries, pay rent and trade bitcoin, according to Bitwala’s chief financial officer Christoph Iwaniez.
The crypto banking service was first scheduled to launch last month after Bitwala announced the SolarisBank partnership back in October. The startup said at the time that it hoped to launch its own bank one day and was planning to apply for a German banking license next year.
Bitwala raised $4.5 million in September from venture capital firms Earlybird and Coparion to develop its banking services.
Back in June, Goldman Sachs-backed crypto startup Circle was also seeking to register as a federally licensed bank in the U.S.