A Commerzbank spokesperson confirmed to local media that the bank applied for the crypto license with BaFin earlier this year, a first for a major German bank.
Commerzbank, one of Germany’s largest banks confirmed it applied for a local crypto license earlier this year, marking the first time a major bank has moved toward cryptocurrencies in the country.
On April 14, a Commerzbank spokesperson confirmed to Börsen-Zeitung that the bank “applied for the crypto custody license in the first quarter of 2022.” If approved, it will be able to provide exchange services as well as custody and protection of crypto-assets.
Commerzbank has over 18 million customers and over 70,000 institutional clients, and the cryptocurrency offering is said to be aimed at the latter.
Since January 1, 2020, any company wishing to provide cryptocurrency services in Germany must first obtain approval from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority or BaFin.
Currently, only four companies have received approval, but BaFin reports that it has over 25 applications pending from firms interested in operating crypto custody businesses.
Coinbase Germany was the first to be approved by the regulator in June 2021, and Upvest, a financial technology firm based in Berlin, was the most recently approved in March.
Commerzbank has been involved in blockchain projects since 2018, and the following year, it participated in some of the first transactions on a distributed ledger technology (DLT) security lending platform with other major banks.
More recently, in August 2021, the company announced a collaboration to create blockchain-based digital marketplaces for existing asset classes such as art and real estate.
In 2021, Germany will implement a slew of reforms and regulations, as well as expand its use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
German investors are also interested in embracing cryptocurrency. According to a March report by Kucoin, 44 percent of Germans are “motivated to invest in cryptocurrencies,” and 37 percent of German crypto investors have been trading cryptocurrencies for more than a year.