Hundreds of US Banks will offer customers BTC starting this year
There’s nothing like bottom line concern to motivate change.
Until now, bitcoin adopters have relied on apps from a new generation of fintech players like free trading brokerage Robinhood, payments giants PayPal and Square, or crypto-centric firms like Coinbase. Banks, on the other hand, have steered clear of bitcoin for retail customers, only recently announcing plans to allow rich wealth management clients to be able to wager on the cryptocurrency.
But banks are now asking for bitcoin because they can see their customers sending dollars to Coinbase, Kraken and other crypto exchanges, according to Yan Zhao, president of NYDIG.
“This is not just the banks thinking that their clients want bitcoin, they’re saying `We need to do this, because we see the data,’” Zhao said. “They’re seeing deposits going to the Coinbases and Galaxies and Krakens of the world.”
NYDIG, whose CEO partnered with Michael Saylor for the keynote interview at MicroStrategy’s online Bitcoin for Corporations program in February, will be working with Fidelity Investments to facilitate the adoption and implementation process.
Will be interesting to see how banks deal with crypto in general and bitcoin in particular.
Will banks fees to buy crypto be competitive with coinbase and other exchanges?
Much more to the point, will banks tell their customers, “hey don’t put your 50,000 satoshis in some unsafe wallet in your own custodianship, just leave your balance with us!”
I hope that crypto can change banking and not the other way around. We’re still very much at the beginning of this story.
Not your keys, not your coins.
It is going to be interesting to watch this roll-out. I see positives and negatives.
It’s not lost on me that the smaller, regional banks are more immediately interested in bitcoin adoption than the large nationals; it’s the smaller banks that have been getting squeezed by costly regulations. They’re already collapsing into ever-larger consortiums, or closing their doors. To lose deposits to crypto exchanges stood to be the last coffin nail for many of them, I expect.
The adoption pattern for new systems most always starts at the margins and works its way in to the centers. That’s why the first toe hold for bitcoin was in illicit activities, and why, by contrast, the US government appears to be dead last in line among the top Western nations to pursue a digital currency version of the existing national currency. It’s why it’s countries pushed to the margins of the US-dominated global monetary regime that are first embracing bitcoin as a means of exchange, as well as store value: at the p2p and b2b levels, countries like Nigeria, El Salvador, and Argentina; at the state level, US-sanctioned regimes like Iran and Venezuela, and IMF-damaged countries like Turkey.
Within the US it’s the smaller banks, for whom the growing tide of Federal regulations makes finding adequate profit difficult, that are taking steps to staunch the flow of their thin customer capital to digital money while the major financial powers still scratch their heads trying to figure out the appeal, and grudgingly offer to let their best-capitalized customers dabble in cryptocurrencies while trying to forbid the mass middle to deploy their money into cryptos.
Add in that individual crypto-embracers savvy enough to do so can earn 6-12% interest by loaning out their digitized dollars while brick-and-mortar banks can’t manage more than a single percentage point. We who are not directly sucking at the teat of Federal printing are, in increasing numbers, left wondering what is the appeal of the US banking system.
Well, not much. But I do see an approaching problem, although it’s still over the far horizon. It is that this seasonal crypto bull cycle will end. When it does, over-leveraged cryptocurrencies with no fundamental values will collapse – just as happened with last cycle’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) craze – and a lot of “unsophisticated investors” (aka gamblers) who decided to swing for the fences because they can’t get ahead through the conventional saving and investing schemes provided to low-net worth accounts, but who failed to do their due diligence in the midst of FOMO panic, will be left financially devastated.
That prospect perversely leaves me hoping banks will limit their crypto accommodation to bitcoin. And perhaps at first they will, but I think the temptation to pull in trading fees will entice bankers to convert savings institutions into crypto casinos. And in (short) time the Feds will likely go along with it because all of that trading in and out of these new digital securities will juice a new tax revenue stream.
So I see more opportunity for those who take time to understand the space, and engage in fundamental analysis of the various currencies’ use cases and actual accomplishments. But I see the probability that a lot more people are going to end up wrecked. And the financialists and government bureaucrats and politicians who have channeled the game so well for so long that ordinary people are left desperately swinging for those fences will collectively shake their heads in mock sorrow and sigh pensively, but then will soberly inform the masses that because we’re all grown-ups living in a democracy we have to be responsible for our own choices; however, in the face of such a broad disaster they’ll condescend to help channel our future poor decision making by instituting some new guard rails that will keep us from rushing pell-mell over cliffs we’ve show ourselves we’re too unsophisticated to see.
“instituting some new guard rails that will keep us from rushing pell-mell over cliffs we’ve show ourselves we’re too unsophisticated to see.”
I have my bowl of popcorn. This whole space is so interesting and getting more so by the day. Way better than TV.
Excellent interview. Thanks for posting it.
I just love Jack Mallers. A college drop out, he coded Strike from his bedroom. Now he works from an empty high-end walk-in closet in a Chicago mansion.
Strike allows instant transfer of money from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world, for free. You can start in one national currency and convert it on the fly to the national currency of the receiving country. It travels from cell phone to cell phone, so no bank is needed – which means the unbanked now have banking functionality on their phones; and if they’re parking money for future use, they can convert their digital cash into btc and park it in their on-phone wallet where it benefits from btc’s asymmetrical upside volatility.
Bullish is an understatement whenever @JackMallers is involved.
The future is here. Most just don't know it yet. pic.twitter.com/DWSyZoT4VD
— ☣surferjim is more stoked than you- regularly.🟩 (@surferjimw) February 19, 2021
Imagine: the poorest people in the world can now receive direct remittances from family abroad with no loss to middlemen agencies; and then can collect an average of 200% per annum on their savings, updated instantly, for however long that money remains unused, while their local fiat currency is devaluing. That is the revolution. Ordinary people understand it in South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. It’s the once-privileged average person in the West that’s blind to what’s happening and what can happen; who still believes in “the system” that’s been impoverishing them for decades.
Strike works on the Bitcoin protocol, layer 2. It receives, for example, US dollars from any source, instantly converts it to bitcoin, shoots that bitcoin to the receiving country, then converts it into the local currency at the existing market conversion rate, and then deposits it in the recipient’s phone. Bitcoin is just the transfer medium – the common denominator between sending country and receiving country; any variance in btc valuation between the two is automatically taken into account because if 1 satoshi’s worth of, say, USD is sent, 1 satoshi is converted to local fiat at the local exchange price. No transaction or conversion fee is assessed.
Again I wonder: what is the use-case for traditional banks going forward? Who will need the SWIFT system? How will any nation or transnational entity force their will upon uninterested countries and their citizens?
And as this Layer 2 technology is built out, what is the distinct use case for other cryptocurrencies? Bitcoin is already intruding on #2 Ethereum’s turf, developing faster payment rails and the very beginning of smart contracts platforms, while the Ethereum development community is still trying to sort out its base layer protocol and resolve festering divisions within the community of programmers, miners, and content builders.
Here’s Jack Dorsey explaining why he and Square are solidly behind bitcoin, and why the internet and internet companies “need” it to become a global currency.
— Dennis Parker (@Xentagz) May 4, 2021