Today DZ Bank board member Souad Benkredda told Bloomberg that the bank will start to pilot a retail cryptocurrency trading offering this year. The aim is to make it available to its 737 community banks for which it provides services. Based on assets, DZ Bank ranks as the second largest bank in Germany.
The offering will enable the community banks’ clients to access a range of cryptocurrencies but will not include advice. While each cooperative bank would choose whether or not to adopt the crypto offering, combined they represent 30 million retail clients. Benkredda cited a study by the cooperative bank association Genoverband, saying, “every second bank wants to activate the solution for their customers.”
Some of their local cooperative banks are already doing their own thing. For example, Volksbank Raiffeisenbank Bayern Mitte already offers Bitcoin investment services. This week the Bayern cooperative announced a consulting and education collaboration with crypto firm Terahash, which promotes the concept that energy-hungry Bitcoin can drive the adoption of renewable energy. The bank previously invested in 21bitcoin, which provides a bitcoin investment app.
DZ still awaits crypto custody license
In November last year, DZ Bank launched its institutional digital asset custody solution, initially focusing on tokenized securities under Germany’s eWpG. That’s while it awaited a BaFin license allowing it to custody crypto. According to the BaFin registry, it is still waiting.
DZ Bank partnered with Swiss custody tech firm Metaco for digital asset custody. Bloomberg reported that DZ Bank was expected to work with DWP Bank for the retail crypto offering but is not. DZ Bank’s Benkredda didn’t disclose the identity of the crypto trading partner. Meanwhile, DWP Bank launched a white-label crypto trading solution in March 2023.