Neobanking service provider Bitwala on Thursday introduced a new account that offers its 80,000 European customers passive bitcoin (BTC) income.
The Bitwala Interest Account allows users to earn up to 4.3% interest per annum for BTC held at the bank.
According to the Berlin-based company, account holders can buy bitcoin at Bitwala from as little as 30 euros ($32), hold it free of charge, and earn interest, which is paid out every Monday.
There are no lock-up periods, meaning that BTC holdings can be liquidated and withdrawn any time, it said.
The new account has been launched in cooperation with cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network, which lends out BTC held by Bitwala users to “trusted institutional partners.”
Celsius Network has been paying an average of 3.4% p.a. in bitcoin since November 2019, said the German bank.
Bitwala’s 4.3% rate is, however, about half of what some decentralized finance platforms with similar interest-earning accounts offer.
Ben Jones, chief executive officer of Bitwala, described bitcoin as “the gold standard for the internet of value,” emphasizing that BTC’s recent third halving is a reminder that “state money (fiat) cannot be inflated eternally.” He stated:
At this time, more and more people trust in bitcoin. Bitwala is the everyday bridge to it. We are now partnering with Celsius Network, the world’s leading provider of crypto loans, so that our customers can leverage bitcoin holdings wherever they are.
Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky commented: “We think combining a bitcoin account with a bank account is a winning proposition and the path to mass adoption.”
Founded in 2018, Bitwala has customers from across 32 countries in Europe. Its accounts are hosted by Berlin-based Solarisbank, which is supervised by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.
Numerous neobanks, including Babb in the U.K. and Crypterium in Estonia, are planning to or are in the process of applying for licenses amid regulatory disinterest that has kept them at bay for years.
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