N26 has become the latest financial institution to offer crypto services. The move adds to other major banks around the world that are making inroads into crypto offerings.
N26 announced that it would be partnering with BitPanda to offer crypto trading to its customers. The digital bank said it would introduce the service in Austria, where BitPanda is based, before a broader European rollout. Initially, N26 Crypto will offer 100 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, with a longer-term goal of including 194.
Centralized fees and restrictions
N26 said it would charge customers 2.5% for each cryptocurrency transaction, with the exception of 1.5% for Bitcoin. Subscribers of the digital bank’s premium Metal account, which costs roughly €17 per month, would see these fees discounted. For Metal subscribers, normal crypto transaction fees would amount to 2%, which would shrink to 1% for Bitcoin. As the facilitator behind the service, Bitpanda would also receive a commission for each transaction.
N26 Crypto will not support custodial wallets, which means the assets will be fixed to the platform. Rival fintech firms Robinhood and Revolut also neglected to include this functionality when they introduced their crypto trading services. However, after demand from customers, they eventually included features enabling customers greater control over their crypto assets.
Indeed, proponents of cryptocurrencies argue that personal custody over digital assets is a fundamental aspect of innovative technology. However, N26 chief products officer Gilles BianRosa says that keeping assets on the platform provides a “closed-circuit investment loop.” He argues that this enables greater protection for the digital bank’s customers.
Banks betting on blockchain
While security risks with cryptocurrencies still persist, as well as their significant devaluation over the past year, financial institutions around the world still seem intent on investing in the industry. For instance, fellow digital bank Nubank, based in Brazil, announced that it would be launching its own token. It said that it intends to offer Nucoin from the first half of next year as part of its rewards program. By collecting Nucoins, customers can accumulate benefits, such as discounts.
Even financial institutions that have been notably skeptical towards cryptocurrencies have found themselves reluctantly integrating crypto roles into their administration. During congressional testimony last month, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called cryptocurrencies “decentralized ponzi schemes.” Yet, that hasn’t stopped the investment from taking on a former crypto executive in a new role dedicated to regulation. In addition to hiring Aaron Iovine as executive director of digital assets regulatory policy, JPMorgan also listed an opening for a digital assets counsel.
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