In a week that has seen many parts of the world take a step forward in recognizing digital assets and cryptocurrencies, Dutch multinational bank ABN AMRO today announced that it will be experimenting with a Bitcoin wallet.
The wallet, named Wallie will be tested among 500 random customers of the bank’s digital banking services for its long-term viability. This experiment comes in the shadow of many in the banking community raising concerns about the security of digital storage.
Although not revealed over a press release or an announcement, ABN AMRO confirmed the experiment after few of the randomly selected customers reported receiving an e-invite to try out a new app. Despite the app not being publicly available to all, screenshots of the same have gone viral and stoked interest.
When asked about whether such an experiment was legit or not, ABN AMRO responded:“We are currently doing an experiment with 500 customers. :)”
About the intent behind such an experiment, ABN AMRO said:“..at the moment, we are mainly investigating and scanning what role we can play in the crypto economy. In doing so, we have a lot of consultations with the AFM and DNB to establish together what is important for consumers.”
ABN AMRO also further suggested that if found that such an initiative would have benefits for both sides then, the bank wasn’t going to be averse to the Bitcoin wallet being developed further and made more widely accessible.
A day after the London Stock Exchange agreed to share trading technology with a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange, ABN AMRO’s participation in the market through developing a Bitcoin wallet will help legitimize the industry in the eyes of many who still view it with suspicion. In that respect, it’s a welcome step that also helps cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin become more accessible to people who know nothing about its use.
However, it does raise certain questions too. Cryptocurrencies in their decentralized form were intended to make sure that the individual is a bank in itself, and that all such currency circumvents the regulation and authority of big banks. ABN AMRO’s development of a Bitcoin wallet, on the other hand, will be a marriage of the two.