For the first time, customers of U.S. banks will soon be able to buy, hold and sell bitcoin through their existing accounts. This according to a recent article in CNBC.
The news comes from crypto custody firm NYDIG, a subsidiary of $10 billion New York-based asset manager Stone Ridge that has partnered with fintech giant Fidelity National Information Services to “enable U.S. banks to offer bitcoin in coming months.” According to the article, hundreds of banks are already enrolled in the program.
Patrick Sells, head of bank solutions at NYDIG, said, “What we’re doing is making it simple for everyday Americans and corporations to be able to buy bitcoin through their existing bank relationships.” Until now, the article explains, bitcoin adopters have relied on apps such as Robinhood or “crypto-centric” firms like Coinbase, while banks have steered clear of crypto for retail customers. Now, however, banks are asking for bitcoin in reaction to trends they are seeing in customers.
The article cites comments from Fidelity National Information head of digital banking Rob Lee, who says that as smaller banks sign on, bigger players like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America could face pressure to offer crypto to their retail banking customers.
NYDIG president Yan Zhao asserts, “With bitcoin available through your bank to be purchased with as little as $1, now you have an attractive asset that’s available to be owned by anyone in any amount. We think that’s huge for economic empowerment.”
Sells notes that banks will determine how much to charge customers for bitcoin trades and will retain most of that fee revenue, adding that NYDIG also intends to offer other services including debt card reward paid in bitcoin and a new type of bank account that is FDIC insured but pays interest in bitcoin.