It is no secret that traditional banks have been skeptical regarding the adoption of digital currencies. This is not the case for Fidor, an internet based German bank.
"For Fidor Bank, this project is an outstanding opportunity and a further step in the global roll-out of the Fidor brand and Fidor vision. Even though the US is the motherland of all innovative digital developments, we see some striking market opportunities for a consumer-centric banking philosophy and product.”
- Fidor CEO Matthias Kroene
The branchless online Bank began digital currency integration in July of 2013 through a partnership with Bitcoin.de, a German speaking exchange for buying and selling Bitcoin. Behind closed doors the two companies started developing plans to provide digital currency products to Fidor Bank clients.
Fidor then partnered with the digital currency exchange Kraken, in October of 2013. Customers were then able to trade Bitcoin and other digital currencies with the backing of a licensed bank. Jesse Powell, CEO of Payward LTD (the developer of Kraken) said Fidor was an ideal partner for the exchange.
"From the beginning, our goal has been to establish bitcoin and other digital currencies as legitimate complements to the euro, the pound and other traditional, government-issued currencies."
Fidor continued to develop partnerships with the Bitcoin Industry. During January 2014 the bank unveiled their own trading platform to serve as a derivatives market for those interested in betting on the ups and downs of Bitcoin’s value. Matthias Kröner, CEO of Fidor Bank, made his intentions clear upon this release, "Our long-term goal is to identify innovations such as new technologies, services, platforms and apps on the financial market and to make [them available to] our business partners and private clients.”
Three months later Fidor became the first bank to implement the Ripple Payment Protocol. Integration of the decentralized transaction infrastructure widened the scope of Fidor customer freedom, giving them the ability to instantly send any amount of any currency through the bank at a lower cost. Kröner expressed the ideal nature of the new partnership, stating, "Ripple enables us to securely and instantly send money anywhere in the world at no additional cost.” Ripple Labs was equally welcoming of their new partner.
“As an innovator and leader in the banking industry, Fidor is using Ripple to define a new standard for what a bank can be and how it can serve its customers.”
– Chris Larsen, CEO of Ripple Labs
2015 has been no different for the German bank. After almost a year and a half of planning, their partnership with Bitcoin.de yielded another innovative feature. Those with a Fidor Smart Giro Accounts can complete Bitcoin trades, settled in Euros, within seconds. This is possible because all trading happens within the secure, regulated walls of a licensed bank, thus eliminating the need for an external exchange platform.
This brings us to the present day. Kröner believes his innovative bank is ready to come to the United States. He appreciates the developing regulatory climate for cryptocurrencies in the US, remarking, “As a fully regulated entity we are used to such an environment and see lots of advantage in it.”
“As a lender, Fidor Bank is already active in the U.K. today, so it is a clear, logical step now to offer the full Fidor-stack according to our vision: community, payment and banking.”