Fidor Eyeing Expansion to the US: What it Could Mean for Bitcoin
DIGITAL CURRENCY MAGNATES: Fidor is not your ordinary bank. You can actually sign into your account through Facebook Connect. They have offered a savings account with an interest rate determined by the number of Like’s awarded on the company’s Facebook page. Customers can interact in the Fidor online community with each other and even support staff, should they have inquiries. They also offer P2P loans through crowdfunding and P2P betting. So it’s only natural that they’ll take a liking to P2P currencies.
Their digital currency accomplishments to date include their integration of Ripple for cross-currency transfers and integration with bitcoin.de for real-time settlement in bitcoin trading, among several others. The bank reportedly works with 30 clients whose businesses are crypto-focused.
The bank’s reported consideration for expansion to the US is therefore something worth watching closely. Bitcoin businesses in the country currently have a tough time securing banking services, mostly due to regulatory uncertainty. The uptake can be significant should businesses have access to an institution that not only tolerates digital currency but even promotes it.
Speaking to DC Magnates, Fidor Bank CEO Matthias Kroner indicated that before any major moves are made, achieving compliance is paramount. He explained:
“Our Bitcoin related activities are activities of Fidor Bank Germany and remain in Germany for the time being. We will have a close look to the US market environment and will carefully analyze our options.Our first objective is to act compliant to all regulatory environments– that’s the first and major goal.”
This may be challenging considering that regulation is still slowly unfolding in the country, and may be further complicated by differing frameworks at federal and state levels. Currently, New York, California and New Jersey are separately working on their own rules.
In general, the regulatory environment is very different in the US than it is in Germany. Technically, although the bank is based in Germany, customers from around the world can open an account, although Kroner did specify that additional KYC efforts are involved.
He previously commented that it seems as if banks in the US are first looking to solve their own problems and then maybe those of their customers.
“The reason that a lot of very successful fintech startups are happening in the U.S. is not only because there are so many talented people setting up those businesses,” he said. “It is also because there is a huge gap and demand in innovative services.”