Vast Bank Introduces Crypto Banking Service and App
At a time when cryptocurrency is seeing greater mainstream acceptance, one FDIC-insured bank is now making it easier for their customers to trade and hold crypto assets. The Tulsa-based bank Vast has launched its Crypto Banking platform and app, made possible through a partnership with Coinbase and SAP. According to the company, this makes them the first nationally chartered U.S. bank to allow customers to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrency assets directly with their banking accounts. Currently, Vast supports trading of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano (Ada), Ethereum (Ether), Litecoin, Orchid, and Algorand. However, they note that their digital asset team is continuously evaluating new coins to add to their offerings. As far as fees, the bank says it has competitive trading fees, currently set at 1%.
One thing to note is that, with Vast’s Crypto Banking, the bank will act as custodian for its customers’ cryptocurrencies. While that might be a downside for some users, Vast spins this as a positive, noting that a reported 20% of all existing Bitcoin — amounting to approximately $140 billion in value — is currently inaccessible due to forgotten wallet passwords, lost digital keys, and other issues. Thus, by integrating crypto trading with traditional banking, customers won’t need to worry about such issues.
Vast’s Crypto Banking features come in addition to what the bank already had to offer. For example, the bank’s Reward Checking allows customers to earn up to 2.05% APY (this rate is unlocked by performing a set of actions each month). Additionally, Vast debit cards can be used at more than 56,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide.
Explaining why the bank decided to explore the possibilities of crypto banking, Vast Bank CEO Brad Scrivner said, “We take pride in getting to know our customers, and that starts with listening. At the heart of many of these conversations is crypto. For quite some time, our customers have been asking why they cannot securely purchase the likes of Bitcoin using their bank account, citing concerns over trustworthiness, safety, and the security of other platforms—all issues which have kept many consumers parked on the sidelines of the crypto phenomenon.” Scrivner went on to say, “We took this challenge head on, and devoted significant resources to answer this unmet need. We’re excited to bring this service online, and give all consumers the opportunity to explore the world of cryptocurrencies in a way that brings peace of mind that only a bank like Vast can provide.”
Despite the fact there are now several ways for laymen consumers to trade crypto — using such popular platforms as Cash App or PayPal for example — there’s no denying that fully licensed banking offering cryptocurrency trading to its customers is a significant step forward. Although Vast Bank may not be the largest bank, the precedent is now set for other institutions that may want to consider similar offerings. Of course, like with many crypto trading expansions we’ve seen in the past, Vast’s custody of the assets may prove controversial in some circles as more advanced customers might prefer to hold their own crypto directly. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if Vast’s Crypto Banking takes off and other banks follow their lead.