Germany’s Solarisbank Launches Licensed Crypto Brokerage

With its close partnership with Bitstamp, Solarisbank is touting an instant “in-custody” settlement system.

Feb 25, 2021 at 7:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:17 p.m. UTC

German fintech firm Solarisbank is building on its regulated crypto custody service with a brokerage and trading application programming interface (API).

Solarisbank, which provides Sumsung, among other companies, with a range of APIs for digital banking and payments, announced Thursday it will offer fiat-to-crypto trading and instant settlement from within its custody solution. 

“We started with custody and now the next step is the brokerage API,” Julian Grigo, managing director at Solarisbank Digital Assets, said in an interview. “Our B2B customers will be able to get a bank account, store crypto and with the brokerage API, they can swap or exchange their fiat money to bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.” 

Custody is the first step into crypto for large regulated firms, which has been happening recently with the likes of BNY Mellon and Standard Chartered making announcements. Germany is one of the few places to offer a special crypto custody license via the financial regulator BaFIN. This has driven a hotbed of innovation with firms like Solarisbank and custody provider Finoa leading the pack.

There’s a strong pipeline for crypto services, said Grigo, pointing to non-crypto businesses tapping into the world of digital assets. 

“We are building the rails for the institutional or the retail investor,” he said. “We see this in the U.S. with Square, or in the U.K. with Revolut. What’s happening globally is also happening in the German market, and we definitely see this demand.”

Thanks to a close partnership with Luxembourg-based exchange Bitstamp, Solarisbank is touting “in-custody” brokerage and instant settlement. U.K.-based BCB Group (which also works with Bitstamp) offers a similar instant settlement network with banking from ClearBank.

This type of blockchain-enabled instantaneous swapping of crypto and fiat completely avoids the sorts of vagaries seen in the recent case of Robinhood and GameStop.

“It’s quite depressing to see some brokers in the crypto ecosystem copying and repeating this batched delivery of the real assets, like the old T+2 delivery of the stock market into the crypto market,” Gigo said. “But the blockchain never sleeps, and so we have instant settlement within our platform.”

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