Payward Ltd., which runs the Kraken digital currency exchange, is the latest virtual-currency provider to partner with Fidor Bank in Germany.
Kraken will become Fidor Bank's exclusive digital currency trading platform throughout the European Union, except in Germany where Fidor Bank has a local partnership with the exchange Bitcoin Deutschland GmbH.
While Payward is based in San Francisco, Calif., many of its customers are located in the European Union.
"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," says Jesse Powell, CEO of Payward, in an Oct. 9 press release. "In Fidor Bank we've found our ideal partner: a responsible, forward-thinking financial institution looking to combine the predictability and stability of traditional banking relationships with the social and economic benefits of new digital currencies."
Bitcoin has struggled in the U.S. due to uncertainty over whether Bitcoin businesses adhere to all federal and state regulations. But other countries appear to be more conducive to the virtual currency movement.
"Digital currencies are emerging as serious and useful alternatives to government-issued currencies," says Matthias Kröner, CEO of Fidor Bank AG, in a press release. "With Kraken we can enable our customers to trade bitcoin and other digital currencies just as securely, easily and flexibly as they trade other foreign currencies today."
In the U.S., Payward is registered with Fincen and can operate in South Carolina, New Mexico and Montana, the states that don't require money-transmitter licensing. Payward also moves virtual currencybut doesn't allow consumers to exchange for dollarsin states that don't have any specific legislation covering digital currency.
While banks in the U.S. have been hesitant to work with virtual currency businesses, successful partnerships could persuade financial institutions to become more comfortable with these companies.
In addition to bitcoin, Payward trades ripple, a digital currency launched by serial financial services entrepreneur Chris Larsen; and Ven, a digital currency that's part of the Hub Culture social network.