The adoption outlook for Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies continues to improve as Germany’s DZ Bank, the country’s second-largest financial institution which serves approximately 700 cooperative lenders, has announced plans to launch a crypto trading pilot later this year.
DZ Bank board member Souad Benkredda told Bloomberg about the planned pilot, which aims to provide customers with direct access to a variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, without the need for financial advice.
“Over the course of the year we will enter the pilot phase for retail trading of cryptocurrencies with the first cooperative banks,” Benkredda said. “We don’t just want to offer trading of one cryptocurrency, but a variety of cryptocurrencies. This is important to us.”
Previously, the bank planned to work with DWP Bank, a securities provider in which DZ Bank has a stake, but those plans have changed, and the bank has a different partner on the project, which Benkredda refrained from identifying.
She underscored that the project is intended to allow clients to make their own decisions when it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies, and will not be required to first seek guidance from a financial advisor.
Each of DZ Bank’s 700 cooperative partners will independently decide whether to offer cryptocurrency trading to their customers, she said. This approach reflects the findings of a study by Genoverband, which indicates significant interest among banks in providing cryptocurrency solutions.
“According to a study by the Geno Association, every second bank wants to activate the solution for their customers,” Benkredda said.
This latest initiative aligns with the bank’s commitment to innovation and meeting the growing demand for digital asset investment options, as well as the broader trend of traditional banks embracing digital assets to meet the evolving demands of their customer base.
In November, DZ Bank launched a cryptocurrency custody platform that leverages Ripple’s technology solution to offer secure storage and processing of digital assets. They also partnered with Swiss custody tech firm Metaco as part of their efforts to navigate regulatory requirements while also innovating in the digital asset space.
While the recent launch of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the U.S. has been billed as the development that will usher in a new era of inflows and adoption for cryptocurrencies, Fintech lawyer Felix Shipkevich told Kitco Crypto that the real sea change will come when banks start offering crypto trading services to their clients.
“It all comes down to the banks,” Shipkevich said. “For crypto to become widely adopted, the banks have to offer it, period.”