Financial institutions’ crypto strategies: Bitcoin from Volksbank

Status: 30/04/2022 15:16

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

A cooperative bank is a pioneer: Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte eG has had its own cryptocurrency offering for a few days. Volksbank offers its 174,000 customers bitcoins for sale. The regional bank is solely dependent on the oldest cryptocurrency. “In our opinion, bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that provides adequate security against manipulation. All other cryptocurrencies cannot be compared to bitcoin because they are not sufficiently decentralized,” explains Andreas Streb, the bank’s deputy chairman of the board.

Michael Immel

Also a machine in the planning

“We do not want to expose our customers to the risk of encountering dubious providers, but want to offer added value as a reputable financial service provider with well-founded services,” says Streb. In particular, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which is often classified as a purely speculative object, is becoming increasingly important as an alternative investment.

With the new offer, crypto-trained employees are also starting. “In discussions with our members and customers, we found that there is a great need for information about investing in Bitcoins. As we want to be the first point of contact for all economic conditions in the region, we now offer a secure and practical 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 at its headquarters in Ingolstadt from July. Euro banknotes can then be exchanged for bitcoins there from the summer.

Bitcoin coin |  picture alliance / CHROMORANGE

The “cold wallet” storage method.

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

Savings banks decide for the summer

And when will customers in the German savings banks be able to buy cryptocurrencies via their account? “There will be a decision on this in the middle of the year,” explains Wiebke Schwarze, spokeswoman for the German Savings Bank and Giro Association (DSGV). Committees have been discussing the future course for several months. The media also reported on a conflict of direction in the organization.

“Cryptocurrencies are not investments that savings banks want to offer their customers,” said Bavarian savings bank president Ulrich Reuter. The statement comes from an interview with the news agency Bloomberg. And DSGV chairman Helmut Schleweis first made a cautious statement at the balance sheet press conference in March. So it is still uncertain whether the savings banks will follow suit. Ultimately, the regional principle determines. And then each department can decide for itself what is offered to customers.

EU flag |  dapd

EU rules for the crypto market

Uniform crypto standards must prevail in the European Union in the future. The EU wants to present a new set of rules over the next few months. The purpose of the cryptocurrency is to clarify these questions: What requirements must a provider meet in order to sell cryptocurrencies? What is the best protection for investors? What happens if cryptocurrencies 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 cryptocurrency license from BaFin, the responsible federal financial regulator. But the procedure is also clear: Commerzbank only addresses institutional customers, ie corporate customers – private customers are excluded in the first instance. The bank is the twenty-fifth company to lodge such an application with the supervisory authority.

Commerzbank has thus dared to take a strategic step, which has been under preparation for years. The money house is still stubbornly silent about detailed plans for the future. In a written statement, the bank shares in a nutshell: it wants to help shape the market for “depot and trading in non-physical assets”.

According to headquarters in Frankfurt, Commerzbank entered into a partnership with Deutsche Börse and Fintech 360x in the spring of 2021. Customers can hope to become wiser about what specific offers the big bank is planning for the future, perhaps up to the upcoming general meeting.

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