U.K. digital banking service Revolut will allow its crypto customers to transfer bitcoin purchased on the platform elsewhere for the first time.
The neobank announced Wednesday the beta launch of bitcoin withdrawals to crypto wallets. For now, this will be limited to U.K. customers who subscribe to Revolut’s Metal service at a cost of £12.99 (about US$18) a month.
In the world of custodial crypto, firms like Robinhood, Revolut and PayPal have been scoffed at by enthusiasts for their restrictive stances on controlling one’s own digital assets. “Not your keys, not your crypto” has long been a rallying cry for hodlers burned by exchange hacks and other bugs.
Revolut, as Robinhood did earlier this year, seems to be taking baby steps toward allowing withdrawals of bitcoin bought on its platform.
Revolut’s Metal customers in the U.K. number around 80,000, an estimated 40,000 of whom have invested in cryptocurrency, Ed Cooper, the fintech’s head of crypto, told CoinDesk.
Following the beta release, Revolut plans to extend the rollout to the rest of its U.K. customer base followed by those in other markets, including Europe and the U.S.
In beta, users will be limited to transferring crypto to just three different addresses, with caps on withdrawals of £1,000 (~$1,400) per month and £500 (~$700) a day.
“The main thing people want is to be able to withdraw their crypto to cold storage, which makes sense 100%,” Cooper said. “They also may want to withdraw to other exchanges that have got a larger array of tokens on offer, for example.”
Subject to take up, the beta testing period, which will last a minimum of 45 days, will be followed by a phased rollout where the aforementioned limits are expanded and the service is extended to the other cryptocurrencies that Revolut supports.
“The goal would be to eventually have withdrawals available for all of them but that will take some time,” Cooper told CoinDesk.
Revolut began offering crypto trading services in July 2017, but the lack of facility for customers to withdraw their holdings to other wallets attracted widespread criticism. Cooper admitted that Revolut was often “flayed alive” on social media by frustrated users for this.
“This is something we always wanted to do because it is more aligned with the crypto ethos,” he said.
“However, for us to get the licenses we needed and keep different partners happy, that wasn’t going to fly, so that’s why we went with the ‘walled garden’ approach you see today,” he said.
Revolut announced in October it had tapped digital asset custody platform Fireblocks to provide secure payments infrastructure for its crypto-related services. Revolut’s U.S. arm uses Paxos, the same firm powering PayPal’s crypto service.