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German blockchain startup Bitwala launches all-in-one Bitcoin banking platform

Matthew Chan

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Bitwala, a German blockchain-based startup, has announced the launch of an all-in-one platform for banking with Euros, as well as buying and selling bitcoin. With a quick set-up via video verification, the new app will enable users to start banking and trading Bitcoin within minutes. A national identification card, including valid address proof, is required in order to start an account through the integrated video verification on the app.

Bitwala’s CFO, Christoph Iwaniez, says that customers will have full control of their Bitcoin wallets via the multi-signature wallet. He added,

“The app is emphasizing security. Hacking Bitwala is as useless as breaking the Blockchain.”

Offering services in 31 European countries, accounts are provided with a free Mastercard debit card which can be used to make payments and withdrawals in over 40 million locations at zero fees. A lost or stolen card can be blocked directly from the app and a new card can be ordered with just a few taps. By enabling push notifications, account holders can remain aware of all transactions happening through their account, be it using fiat currencies or Bitcoin. 

Having established itself as a legitimate platform for fiat currency banking and crypto-storage, deposits are protected by the German deposit guarantee scheme amounting up to €100,000. Bitcoin bank accounts will be supported by Berlin-based technical platform, SolarisBank, which has a license from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, BaFin, as per the published press release.

The new wallet features P2P cryptocurrency payments, QR-code based payment requests and confirmation of fund transfers via biometric verification. According to Ben Jones, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Bitwala,

“We aim to empower people to exchange value like they exchange ideas: Globally, instantly and at the lowest possible cost.”

The account varies from one at a typical cryptocurrency exchange due to how it works like conventional online banking, making access to digital assets more available to the masses while ensuring higher legal safeguards. Bitcoin trading will only incur a mere 1% fee, while the account and debit card do not attract any transaction fees.

According to Jones, the capital raised in Bitwala’s latest funding round will be used to support its growth strategy to increase user base across Europe and offer more cryptocurrencies and business accounts, while expanding the team across all segments.

As of now, Bitwala is the only banking service presently active in the European Economic Area and are the only one offering a free current account with an integrated Bitcoin wallet.

Matthew is a full-time member of AMBCrypto. Prior to joining AMBCrypto, Chan had an extensive 2-year investigative business reporting stint with Tribune media. He has been following the blockchain space and currently writes about blockchain products and cryptocurrencies. Matthew will be reachable at matthew@ambcrypto.com.