Bitcoin Friendly Banks in the United States: Financial Institutions Embracing Crypto

While bitcoin and cryptocurrencies remain controversial in banking, a growing number of forward-thinking U.S. banks are starting to explore crypto services for customers. Crypto-friendly banks provide key access points to the ecosystem for average consumers.

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Bitcoin and the traditional finance world have had a complex relationship over cryptocurrency's brief history. Many large banks initially shunned bitcoin or even closed accounts of early adopters. But the tides are now turning as major financial institutions recognize the inevitability of integrating digital assets. This gradual shift has seen more bitcoin-friendly U.S. banks emerge.

For cryptocurrency to reach mainstream adoption, getting support from trusted banks grants validity to the asset class and provides critical access points. Let's examine some of the American banks taking a proactive stance in offering bitcoin and crypto services.

Large U.S. Banks With Crypto Services

The biggest moves in bitcoin's banking integration have come through large U.S. financial institutions rolling out crypto services:

  • JPMorgan Chase - After bashing bitcoin in 2017, JPMorgan completed a 180 by launching crypto services. The bank has an Onyx division handling blockchain projects and recently started allowing all wealth management clients access to crypto funds.
  • Bank of America - Bank of America research covers bitcoin positively. It has also been awarded crypto-related patents for a partitioned blockchain and cryptocurrency wire transfers. Crypto trading is rumored to be coming soon.
  • Citigroup - Citigroup has published bullish bitcoin research reports and introduced crypto trading for institutional clients. Digital asset exchange Bakkt partnered with Citi for its crypto consumer app.
  • Wells Fargo - Wells Fargo invests in crypto companies and participated in a $15 million funding round for Prime Trust. It has plans to offer crypto products when regulations allow it.

Crypto Specialty Banks

A handful of new banks have formed around building cryptocurrency services directly into their business models:

  • Anchorage Digital - This federally chartered digital asset bank provides crypto custody services to institutional investors. It has regulatory approval to operate as a Qualified Custodian.
  • Knox Financial - Knox offers an FDIC-insured custodial crypto wallet. It aims to combine self-custody with an easy user experience and the safety of a licensed U.S. financial institution.
  • Avanti Financial - This Wyoming-based bank was the second to receive a special charter to custody digital assets. Avanti Financial also applies for FinCEN licenses to grow services.
  • Kraken Financial - Kraken Financial is the first digital asset company to receive a U.S. state banking charter in Wyoming. It plans to offer deposits, withdrawals, account services and debit cards.

Credit Unions Jump In

Several progressive credit unions are bringing crypto services like bitcoin trading to their members as well:

  • Visions Federal Credit Union - Visions was the first U.S. credit union to offer cryptocurrency purchases within online banking. Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin are available.
  • Quontic Bank - Quontic positions itself as adaptable for the crypto age, allowing customers to deposit bitcoin rewards into accounts. Its Bitcoin Rewards Checking provides up to 1.5% back in BTC.
  • First New York Federal Credit Union - First New York partnered with Coinbase to give members access directly within online banking. Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin can be bought.

This initial wave of crypto product integration from U.S. banks and credit unions paves the way for greater mainstream bitcoin adoption.

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