EMBATTLED RABOBANK UNVEILS ‘CRYPTOCURRENCY WALLET’ IN A MAJOR U-TURN
At the beginning of this month (February) all major Dutch banks refused to let entrepreneurs active in the cryptocurrency world open business account because of “too great compliance risks”, and Rabobank was included in this list. Therefore it comes as quite a surprise to find that only a few weeks later Rabobank now plans to offer a cryptocurrency wallet. The wallet is not actually available at this time and there is a only a website where you can register your interest. https://www.rabobit.nl
Rabobank has launched a dedicated website for the project called “Rabobit.” Part of its internal kickstarter program dubbed “Moonshot,” the “integrated cryptocurrency wallet” offers customers the chance to “store your cryptocurrencies in a wallet hosted by a trusted party”. It’s a little ironic that one of the cornerstones of Bitcoin and crypto in general is to do away with trusted third-parties as Nick Szabo is quoted as saying “trusted third parties are security holes”.
Rabobank hit the headlines earlier this month for all the wrong reasons after its California unit pleaded guilty to involvement in laundering Mexican drug money. Prosecutors fined it almost $370 million. Something that banks often like to use against crypto is their supposed usefulness for money laundering, when in fact the technology behind Bitcoin makes it entirely unsuitable for money laundering.
There was some concerns on social media that the website, which consists of only one page and a signup form, might be a scam. Although with some commentators on twitter confirming it was genuine along with an official tweet from the back, it seems that it is indeed a genuine effort from the bank to dip it’s toe into crypto waters.
“Rabobit has not yet been realised, there is still no official decision to introduce this. As soon as more info follows, we communicate this,” the response on Twitter reads.
Dat kan ik me voorstellen. Rabobit is een onderdeel van een intern innovatie kickstarter programma van de Rabobank. Rabobit is op dit moment nog niet gerealiseerd, er is nog geen officieel besluit om dit in te voeren. Zodra er meer info volgt, communiceren we dit. ^Debbie
— Rabobank (@Rabobank) February 28, 2018
Rabobank would not be the first major financial institution to work on an integrated crypto wallet. Earlier this year CoinDaily reported that South Korea’s second-largest bank Shinhan had announced similar plans in what represented a pioneering step for legacy finance.
In Holland and further afield meanwhile, the problem of dealing with banks if you are in the crypto business, or simply a crypto investor continue. Many are still openly hostile towards crypto, with Barclays bank in the UK, regularly blocking or suspending accounts and transactions. This move by Rabobank may be a sign of the tide turning and banks adopting a ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em attitude’.