Blockchain startup Bitwala is aiming to launch Germany's first "blockchain bank account" – and it's struck a strategic partnership with Berlin-based fintech company solarisBank in order to pull it off.
Built as part of solarisBank's "Blockchain Factory" initiative, the partnership will enable Bitwala to offer banking services by way of solarisBank's German banking license, spokesperson Roman Kessler told CoinDesk.
The goal is to launch the service in mid-November, and Bitwala hopes to cater to those who already hold cryptocurrencies. Bitwala raised €4 million in new funding last month to support its efforts.
Thus far, according to the company, 35,000 users have pre-registered for the upcoming service.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Kessler stressed that "we are a blockchain banking service" and not a bank. That said, Bitwala hopes to get there one day, and is planning to seek a German banking license of its own next year.
Bitwala's partner has some notable backers, including Spain-based BBVA and card provider Visa. SolarisBank closed a €56.6 million Series B funding round earlier this year, according to TechCrunch, having been founded in 2016.
Kessler explained two aspects of solarisBank drew Bitwala to it: the "fantastic technical platform that allows" any company the ability to easily "go in and plug your use cases" into the solarisBank API, and the regulatory access vis-a-vis its banking license.
Indeed, solarisBank positioned itself as a possible partner for the crypto-industry through its Blockchain Factory effort.
And the solarisBank partnership helps Bitwala avoid some of the regulatory pitfalls it's encountered in the past. In January, Bitwala was one of several cryptocurrency companies affected when Visa Europe closed the account of its debit card issuer.
"We are very proud to partner with solarisBank as we launch our new product. Their technical services and regulatory umbrella enable Bitwala to be fully compliant with German banking requirements while offering a reliable user experience," Jörg von Minckwitz, president of Bitwala, said in a statement.
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