Thanks to the ongoing revolution in financial technology, the once stark line separating the banking and cryptocurrency industries is becoming increasingly blurry. The world’s biggest banks are creating their own payment tokens and building blockchains, while bitcoin-investment firms are steadily gaining regulatory recognition. Unfortunately, most banking news tends to fall outside of mainstream coverage, making even the biggest crypto-related stories easy to overlook.
Let’s take a look at three major banking-related cryptocurrency headlines that you might have missed.
1. Germany considers law allowing banks to hold and sell cryptocurrency. The banking industry has long been in an awkward position when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Even though customer demand for crypto purchasing and custodial services has been on the rise for years, the limbo-like legal status of virtual currency has prevented most major banks from even experimenting with such offerings. That may soon change for banks in Germany, however, as a new bill recently passed by the Bundestag (the German parliament) would completely change the crypto-banking status quo. German news outlet Handelsblatt reports that the proposed law would allow German to “offer their customers online banking, virtually at the touch of a button, along with classic securities such as stocks and bonds, as well as cryptocurrencies.” If approved by the majority of Germany’s 16 states, the new law would come into effect in 2020.
2. Crypto-investment app Robinhood withdraws bank charter application. Late last month, cryptocurrency and stock investment platform Robinhood voluntarily withdrew its application for a banking charter, citing regulatory challenges. The investment firm applied for the charter back in April, aiming to become a federally insured bank. While no specific reason was given for the withdrawal, industry observers have suggested that recent congressional scrutiny over cryptocurrency and financial technology could have discouraged the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency from moving forward with the application.
3. Venture capital fund SoftBank unveils debit card with built-in blockchain wallet. U.S.-based cryptocurrency wallet developer Dynamics recently announced a new partnership with Japanese multinational holding company and venture capital firm SoftBank to introduce a cryptocurrency-focused debit card. The new card integrates blockchain wallets with traditional debit card data, allowing users to access funds and check their balances in real time. The “SBC Wallet Cards” will initially be exclusive to the Japanese market, although the company plans to expand into the U.S., Asia, and Dubai in the near future.