Although cryptocurrencies are considered an unsafe investment by many financial experts, they have undoubtedly become part of mainstream society. Not without reason, more and more international banks are focusing on a special offer of buying and selling Bitcoin, Ethereum & Co. Now, with the Volksbanken, a German credit institution will presumably soon enter the “crypto business”. At least there are some indications which point to it.
Bitcoin trading soon also possible at the Volksbanken?
So far, it is mainly so-called Internet banks that allow their customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. However, since the credit institution DZ Bank, to which the Volksbanken also belong, is currently working on a prototype for trading with cryptocurrencies, a classic bank may soon also offer the business with money based on blockchain technology. The fact that they are currently working on a corresponding prototype is not just a rumor, by the way. Rather, it was stated by the president of the Federal Association of Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken, Marija Kolak. The Stuttgarter Zeitung further reports that the credit institution is already vigorously testing the prototype along with a matching wallet.
Volksbanken see great need
Certainly, Volksbanken sense an opportunity when it comes to cryptocurrencies. In the market of credit institutions, it is not uncommon to be simply swallowed up by larger banks. So it’s good to acquire a unique selling proposition that acts like an ace up your sleeve. A trading platform for Bitcoin should make this possible, according to Kolak. Here’s how she puts it:
“There is a need there that we can imagine solving in perspective”
This will not please everyone
The success of Etoro and other trading platforms for cryptocurrencies makes it clear what success the credit unions expect from an entry. However, it is highly risky for classic credit institutions to compare themselves with such providers. Since the platforms often act like startups, the risk here is not as high as with a credit institution that has been in existence for many years. In general, currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum & Co. are exceedingly controversial. After all, they are not only considered highly speculative investments that entail a high risk of loss for investors. On top of that, they are more than questionable from an ecological point of view.
In order to produce a Bitcoin, for example, it must first be produced in the course of “mining”. This requires several powerful graphics cards. This process consumes huge amounts of electricity, which results in an extremely poor ecological balance. The Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken are certainly aware of this. Accordingly, they have not yet reached a final agreement on whether or not to include cryptocurrencies in their own repertoire. According to the report in the Stuttgarter Zeitung, a corresponding decision will probably be made in a year’s time. The newspaper bases this on statements by Kolak.
Negative consequences are to be avoided
Kolak himself continues to talk about the importance of “not taking a quick shot” that one might regret afterwards. Accordingly, it is important to bring all cooperative institutions on board. Together, they would then like to make a decision on a possible implementation. In response to a query from our colleagues at heise online, both DWP Bank and DZ Bank confirmed that a corresponding project involving cryptocurrencies was underway. But here, too, the financial institutions were coy when it comes to more details.
Cryptocurrency has arrived in the broad mass
The fact that banks are already well aware of the crypto market is made clear by Volksbank Bayern Mitte. The subsidiary of the Volksbanken has namely unceremoniously decided to educate its customers in detail about the topic. In addition to general information such as buying and selling, this also involves important security-related topics. In particular, the correct storage of so-called private security keys plays an important role. In view of the increasing number of thefts of the valuable cryptocurrencies, this is quite commendable.
Is the savings bank also getting involved?
Incidentally, the Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken are not the only credit institutions where rumors are boiling up around the topic of cryptocurrency. Even at the traditional savings bank, it was assumed at the end of last year that they would take the step into the risky, but modern cryptocurrencies. A corresponding policy project of the responsible IT service provider had probably already been initiated. In the end result, one should be able to buy uncomplicated Bitcoin & Co. and settle the corresponding bill via current account. What sounded as ingenious as it was simple has meanwhile probably vanished into thin air. At least, the idea of the young IT division S-Payment was anything but well received by the veteran and equally high-ranking officials of the savings bank. Thus, the president of the Bavarian savings bank Ulrich Reuter let it be known:
“Cryptocurrencies are not financial investments that the savings banks want to offer their customers”
The president of the German Savings Banks and Giro Association, Helmut Schleweis, went even a step further. He even issued a warning by formulating the plan
“To protect customers from something like this”
Accordingly, at least in the near future, an entry of the savings banks into the cryptocurrency market seems rather unlikely.