German Internet direct bank Fidor and digital currency exchange Kraken are teaming up on what the two companies say will be the first “specialized bank for crypocurrencies”.
The platform is expected to enter the first stages of development by the end of this year.
San Francisco-based Kraken reported it will be responsible for the technological aspects of the project, while Fidor will handle regulatory and licensure logistics, drawing from its connections in the broader financial sector.
The partnership builds on an existing cooperation between Fidor and Kraken, which cemented an European market exchange services pact in October 2013. The move to build a cryptocurrency-focused bank echoes previous statements from Fidor’s leadership, including COO Michael Maier who hinted at next-generation digital currency banking services in a June interview with CoinDesk.
Fidor CEO Matthias Kröner said that ultimately, the goal of the partnership is to create a “marketplace” for digital currency services, which will include mechanisms for trading, payment and currency exchange.
“We want to build a regulated and specialized banking home for entrepreneurs and retail customers who are intrigued by the idea and vision of a virtual currency system. But this, we cannot and we will not do on our own.”
Name vote underway
On the project’s official website, visitors are being asked to vote on a name for the proposed cryptocurrency bank. The three names are: BICONDO, BYSE Bank and Cryptocurrency Bank.
According to the website, a workshop scheduled for 15th–16th December will focus on the results of the vote. The workshop, to be held in Fidor’s Munich headquarters, is now open for registration.
Kraken CEO Jesse Powell noted that he would like to see a more open environment emerge as a result of the partnership in which regulators and digital currency stakeholders can work together.
“We hope that in opening up our relationship and expanding our circle of trust, we’ll see the industry grow, regulators become more comfortable and other banks thaw out,” he said.
Door open for partners
Though many details surrounding the project remain unclear, the two companies are already actively seeking additional partners from the banking and technology sectors.
Any prospective partners should be “accepting of regulatory rules, restrictions” related to know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) statutes and equipped with sufficient funding and institutional knowledge to actively contribute to the project.
Kröner said that the banking industry has an interest in supporting the project, adding:
“It should be in the interest of all of us to create a network which is as wide as possible. All partners will be shareholders of this platform, which also means that we will only kick it off with a sufficient group of partners and shareholders.”
Representatives for Kraken and Fidor were unavailable for comment at press time.
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