Czech Bank Launches Cryptocurrency-Friendly Services
A commercial bank in the Czech Republic is now offering online services that combine traditional financial features with those for cryptocurrency users. Expobank CZ says its customers will be able to trade cryptocurrencies, invest in startups, and buy precious metals through their accounts.
Expobank CZ claims it is the first bank in Europe to offer account holders the opportunity to perform
crypto-related transactions alongside traditional banking activities. The new service called Neo is based on the bank’s online platform Expobanking. It gives users full control over their financial activities, including those related to cryptocurrencies, Prague Express reported.
Expobank has recently entered into partnerships with two companies from the crypto sector in order to provide crypto-related services. An agreement with Wbtcb allows the bank’s customers to invest and transact in BTC. According to a press release referenced by Czech media, the bank’s customers will not need to create a separate cryptocurrency wallet. Higher transaction limits will be available to verified account holders.
Expobank’s clients will have access to new investment opportunities in the growing crypto industry. They will be granted access to Fundlift, the largest crowdfunding platform in the Czech Republic and another of the bank’s partners. Investors will be able to support fintech startups by participating in initial coin offerings as well as purchase shares of established companies.
Neo account holders will also be able to invest in precious metals. Expobank has formed an agreement with the Czech Mint which produces gold and silver coins and ingots. Purchases and sales of gold in the Czech Republic are exempt from taxation. Users of Expobank’s new platform will also have access to insurance services provided by one of the largest insurers, Allianz. For example, they can purchase insurance policies for business trips from within their accounts.
The Czech Republic is one of the most crypto-friendly destinations in Europe. Its capital city recently topped a list of the best cities to spend digital coins, according to a study carried out by Fortune Jack which covers bitcoin hotspots around the world. Prague is home to over 150 venues that accept cryptocurrency payments, including many tourist attractions, stores, hotels, and restaurants.
Last year, the largest online retailer in the country, Alza.cz, started accepting BTC. This past spring, one of the largest Czech utility companies, Pražská Plynárenská, launched a cryptocurrency payment gateway for its customers.
With the launch of the Neo service, Expobank expects to attract more crypto enthusiasts, potential investors, and businesses operating in the industry — and eventually expand its customer base. According to Czech outlet Blesk, the bank currently has around 20,000 clients.
Restricted access to regular banking services remains a major hurdle for companies operating in the fintech sector, even in crypto-friendly jurisdictions such as Switzerland. There is an ongoing debate in the Alpine nation on how to solve the issue in order to prevent an exodus of fintech startups.