German savings banks want to enable Bitcoin for 50M clients: Report

German savings banks are reportedly planning to allow customers to invest in major digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) directly from checking accounts.

Savings banks in German-speaking countries, also known as Sparkassen, are working on a pilot to launch an in-house cryptocurrency wallet and exchange next year, local business magazine Capital reported Dec. 13.

The pilot project is subject to approval by Sparkasse committees early next year, while the banking association aims to develop related services at the beginning of 2022. An expert group from German IT service provider S-Payment is reportedly designing the concept for the project.

A corresponding pilot project should start first with individual savings banks, with each of 370 Sparkassen independently deciding whether or not to introduce crypto trading. According to Capital’s sources, a number of the banks have already expressed significant interest in the crypto platform.

Sparkassen are commercial banks operating savings banks in German-speaking countries in a decentralized structure, with each bank operating independently. With around 50 million customers, the savings banks reportedly hold 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) in total assets.

The German Savings Banks Association and S-Payment did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending new information.

Related: New German government cites crypto in coalition agreement

Germany has emerged as one of the world’s most crypto-friendly countries, with the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority issuing a crypto custody business license for Coinbase’s Germany arm earlier this year. German stock market operator Deutsche Boerse has also listed more than 20 crypto exchange-traded products on its digital exchange, Xetra.

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