FIDOR Bank AG, an Internet-based bank licensed in Germany, and the bitcoin marketplace Bitcoin.de have announced a new “Express Trade“ system that allows customers of either platform to exchange and trade bitcoin for euros.  

 

The project has been in development for a year and a half, ever since FIDOR Bank AG and Bitcoin.de entered into a partnership in July 2013 and promised to launch a new system within weeks. The Bitcoin.de website has put an announcement on its home page admitting the delay: “After a long development process we have finally launched the beta phase of our express trade feature (“Fidor-API”). So far over 1,000 user are enabled to use the express trade feature via FIDOR bank accounts and hundreds are joining them each day.”

The collaborative system, called “Express Trade”, will allow clients to buy and sell bitcoin for fiat currency and to keep their funds using traditional bank accounts. Customers will always hold money on their own accounts without transferring them to the operators’ unregulated accounts and thus exposing to certain risks. FIDOR Bank accounts are more secure as they are guaranteed with statutory deposit security of 100,000 euro per private customer. The system is regulated under the General Terms & Conditions of Business.

“The prompt conducting of money transactions in the environment of bitcoin transactions from one bank customer to another bank customer enhances security massively,” FIDOR CEO Matthias Kröner said. “As such FIDOR Bank is setting a further milestone in digital banking”.

The news about “Express Trade” comes in the context of a generally reserved attitude of classic banks toward digital currency. European banks tend to avoid dealing with bitcoin themselves and even close down accounts of businesses dealing with bitcoin.

The press release claims that the new platform is the fastest in Europe thanks to direct transactions between the bank and bitcoin.de, the marketplace, with no waiting times. “Bitcoin.de works in a similar way to eBay or a regulated exchange as a trading market-place with the immediate payment of the transaction,” the press release reads.

The partners also claim that Bitcoin.de has become the first bitcoin startup in the world with a direct connection to a traditional bank. The transactions will be processed in real time via FIDOR Smart Giro Account, a digital finance management platform that includes online and mobile, peer-to-peer transactions, Twitter transfers, with integration into social trading and crowdfunding systems. Unfortunately, at the moment only German residents are eligible to open a FIDOR account with the bank.

The partnership is expected to boost the German bitcoin community. 

“We are proud that we at Bitcoin.de have been able to develop further together with our bold partners from FIDOR Bank towards an exchange,” Oliver Flaskämper, board member of Bitcoin Deutschland AG, said. “That is not only good news for all Bitcoin fans, but also good news for fin-tech companies based in Germany. Together with the right partners more is possible in Germany than one might think.”

The e-commerce-oriented bank is planning to expand to the U.S. via the Ripple platform, PaymentSource reports. Fidor plans to provide branchless banking in the U.S. in collaboration with an unnamed company to provide services in fiat and digital currencies.