For the first time, customers of some U.S. banks will soon be able to buy, hold and sell bitcoin through their existing accounts, according to crypto custody firm NYDIG.
The company, a subsidiary of $10 billion New York-based asset manager Stone Ridge, has partnered with fintech giant Fidelity National Information Services to enable U.S. banks to offer bitcoin in coming months, according to the two firms.
Hundreds of banks are already enrolled in the program, according to Patrick Sells, head of bank solutions at NYDIG. While the firm is in discussions with some of the biggest U.S. banks, many of the lenders that have agreed to participate are smaller institutions like Suncrest, a California-based community bank with seven branches.
“What we’re doing is making it simple for everyday Americans and corporations to be able to buy bitcoin through their existing bank relationships,” Sells said. “If I’m using my mobile application to do all of my banking, now I have the ability to buy, sell and hold bitcoin.”
Until now, bitcoin adopters have relied on apps from a new generation of fintech players like free trading brokerage Robinhood, payments giants PayPal and Square, or crypto-centric firms like Coinbase. Banks, on the other hand, have steered clear of bitcoin for retail customers, only recently announcing plans to allow rich wealth management clients to be able to wager on the cryptocurrency.
But banks are now asking for bitcoin because they can see their customers sending dollars to Coinbase, Kraken and other crypto exchanges, according to Yan Zhao, president of NYDIG.