Bitwala, a global blockchain-based payment service provider based in Berlin, Germany is all set to launch blockchain banking after raising €4 million from Earlybird and coparion.
Bitwala was founded by Jörg von Minckwitz, Jan Goslicki, and Benjamin P. Jones in October 2015. This German startup uses cryptocurrency to provide a much faster and cheaper solution. Von Minckwitz, Goslicki, and Jones are long time business partners. They have founded other blockchain businesses before Bitwala such as All4btc.com and Transistor Coworking. The transistor is Germany’s largest fintech coworking space.
The German blockchain banking service tweeted:
We just closed our latest funding round of €4 million to bring the world a first of its kind blockchain banking experience. We’re happy to welcome @EarlybirdVC and @coparion_vc to our family of investors.#bitcoin #blockchainbanking #funding https://t.co/sme6AyrtKO
— Bitwala (@bitwala) September 25, 2018
According to its press release, Bitwala is now backed by various investors such as N26, ShapeShift, and EyeEm. They have joined Bitwala’s family of investors with High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), Digital Currency Group (DCG), and ALSTIN.
In the first week of January, the customer base of Bitwala was more than 80,000 people. In the same month the German startup temporarily suspended its services A few months later, Bitwala partnered with a German bank to provide blockchain banking. More than 30,000 people have already signed up to be onboarded. The account will have all the features required for everyday banking in both the fiat and in the crypto world.
Christian Nagel, partner at Earlybird venture capital said that
The background and experience of the team convinced us that Bitwala will allow everyone to engage with cryptocurrencies with all the comfort and security of their bank account.
Bitwala’s banking partner gives SEPA debit and credit transactions, recurring payments and a debit card. It will also provide a cryptocurrency wallet, which enables cryptocurrency trading with access to instant liquidity. Bitwala allows SEPA and SWIFT money transfers by exchanging Bitcoin or Altcoins to more than 20 fiat currencies to any bank account in over 200 countries worldwide. It also gives a Bitcoin debit card and also operates as a bitcoin wallet service to store, send and accept Bitcoin.
Jörg von Minckwitz, President of Bitwala GmbH said that
I’m very proud that with our new product we will close the gap between crypto and traditional banking and solve one of the biggest hurdles on the road to mainstream adoption.
In April 2018, in an interview given to The Paypers, Bitwala’s CEO Jörg von Minckwitz had said that in most pubs or restaurants in Berlin people can’t pay with Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This is because of the fees and partly because of privacy reasons. Cryptocurrencies changed these circumstances with their low fees and privacy focus. Due to this, many little shops started to accept cryptocurrency. There is also a growing number of crypto startups in Berlin and the community is one of the most vibrant in the world.
He had further elaborated that the aim of Bitwala is to empower people to seamlessly flow between the crypto and the fiat worlds. That means owning, buying and selling cryptocurrencies alongside their salary. Bitwala wants to create a fully compliant, secure and data protected crypto company that allows clients to utilize crypto on a daily basis without worrying about security, compliance or tax problems. By using Bitwala, it will be easy to file taxes, to secure coins and exchange them smoothly.
Germany is quickly turning into a development hub for cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Bitbond, a German online bank, is also using Bitcoin to allow international transfer of loans. It has replaced Swift(Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) with Bitcoin’s blockchain so that clients will be able to transfer loans anywhere in the world using Bitcoin. Swift is a messaging platform used by banks and financial institutions to transmit information regarding monetary transactions and operations using a standard coding system.
Loans are exchanged with the borrower utilizing Bitcoin only to be converted back to fiat money once the international procedure is handled. This enables clients to abstain from fluctuating trade rates of fiat monetary forms. Founded in 2013 and authorized as a financial organization in 2016, Bitbond helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the world obtaining up to €50,000.
Bitwala Debit card and Wallet
In December 2015, Bitwala launched their Bitcoin debit card. Powered by Visa, the Bitwala Bitcoin debit card enables clients to use Bitcoin to make POS and online payments and cash out at ATMs. The Bitcoin debit cards are issued by Wave Crest Holdings Limited and it supports more than 40 cryptocurrencies. In August 2016, Bitwala launched a mobile and web cryptocurrency wallet for Android and iOS. The bitcoin wallet has multi-signature technology and Two-Factor, allowing transactions to be signed on its clients’ devices.