Bitwala is a new face in the world of cryptocurrency. This startup has launched a collaboration with Solarisbank, one of the most respected banks in Germany to do something completely new. That is, merge traditional, state-run fiat currency with bitcoin and Ethereum support to create the first real cryptocurrency bank. It offers wallets and accounts in Euro as well as two of the top cryptocurrencies. It's a concept with great potential, but is this bank everything it could be? Read the rest of this Bitwala review to find out.
All the potential applications of a cryptocurrency bank are hard to imagine. The simplest is that it offers the powerful prospect of combining your normal day-to-day finances with your investments. This consolidation can be extremely convenient for the user, not to mention profitable for the bank.
If Bitwala can effectively compete in both of these spheres, it may eventually beat dedicated crypto exchanges and fiat banks at their own games. You might open a cryptocurrency bank account in the future with better interest rates, more favorable loans, and generally better services than you'd ever imagined. The steady expansion of the crypto economy holds all sorts of promise for the consumer.
But these are just a few of the lofty goals of cryptocurrency banking. While Bitwala hasn't quite ushered in the future just yet, it does many things well and has much to offer. It still lags behind dedicated crypto platforms in some areas, but the research for our Bitwala review has given us a positive impression.
What Does Bitwala Offer?
As a crypto bank, the most important thing that this startup can do is work well as a bank. Robust customer support, reasonable fees, and the full suite of banking services are essential. When it comes to these key banking services, Bitwala is everything that you'd expect from a cryptocurrency bank. Bitwala fully integrates both types of currency and enables you to seamlessly transfer from one account to the other. Additionally, you have full use of your bank via the Bitwala app or the desktop and can perform all banking tasks on the move. This efficiency has great implications when it comes to trading, saving, and day-to-day convenience. In the process of making our Bitwala review, we researched the key features of this cryptocurrency bank.
Streamlined Coin Trading Services
When you use Bitwala, you gain the ability to buy and sell bitcoin from your bank account. Traditional exchanges don't offer this sort of time-and-fee saving simplicity, which gives Bitwala a significant advantage. The way it works is essentially the same as any bank account with multiple currencies. That is to say, you can sell Bitcoin and see the bank automatically deposit the Euro to your account. Alternatively, you can spend your Euro to buy Bitcoin and watch the trade complete in moments.
Bitwala Debit Card
Thanks to the partnership with Solarisbank, Bitwala includes a German debit card from Mastercard. It's a fully modern card that offers you features like contactless payment. If you're a US resident, this is a highly convenient feature that enables you to pay for transactions by tapping your card on the card reader. But the Bitwala debit card isn't just convenient, it also benefits from the latest security protections in the German market. You can rest easy with this card, there's no doubt about that.
Other perks include that, as a Mastercard, you can withdraw cash at ATMs around the world without any fees. An Ethereum enthusiast or bitcoin beginner will both appreciate the quality of this crypto debit card. When it comes to the goal of making cryptocurrency convenient to use in day-to-day life, Bitwala succeeded.
Cryptocurrency Bank Accounts
- Bitcoin Wallet
- Ethereum Wallet
While offering two types of coin isn't impressive compared to dedicated exchanges, it's the best in the market when it comes to cryptocurrency banking. Additionally, Bitwala made excellent choices of cryptocurrencies to support, as BTC and ETH are some of the most promising and resilient coins on the market. After a plunge a few years ago, bitcoin is booming again and some expect it to quickly soar to new heights. Ethereum's wide range of technical applications are growing more powerful by the year, so it's another excellent investment.
Bitcoin Earning Account for Investors
An additional, powerful perk of Bitwala is the Bitcoin earning account available to investors. While it doesn't have an APY as high as other platforms, it offers a much more stable interest rate of almost 4%. Compared to fiat currency bank accounts where 1.5% APY is considered impressive, this is a powerful and relatively low-risk way to earn cryptocurrency.
Automatically Records Tax Information
Recording tax information is a serious hassle when it comes to crypto transactions, and errors can result in legal consequences. Bitwala makes crypto convenient and accessible by cooperating with CryptoTax, which records your purchases and sales. If you access the Bitwala app and navigate its menus, you'll quickly be able to access the relevant information. Furthermore, the app can automatically convert your records into a form that's suitable for submission to tax authorities. In all, trading has never been more convenient than it is now.
Account Protection and Related Benefits
In addition to 3D Secure tech protecting your debit card, Bitwala employs a range of modern protections for your bank account. Your Ethereum wallet uses a 12-word phrase for security, and the Bitcoin wallet relies on a multi-signature protection system. You also have a level of security that no normal cryptocurrency exchanges offer, as Solarisbank ensures each account up to 100,000 Euro.
Fees are Small and Infrequent
To sweeten the deal, Bitwala requires low fees. The only notable fee is that BItcoin and Ethereum have a 1% trading fee with a minimum amount of 30 Euro. Account management and debit card provision fees are nonexistent unless you lose your debit card and need it replaced. There are no Bitwala ATM fees, although the ATM and Mastercard may charge fees at their discretion.
Legitimacy, Good User Experience
Some people may fear being scammed, but Bitwala is completely legitimate. Their partnership with Solarisbank is clearly documented on the website of the latter, and there are thousands of customer reviews on various websites. Most users sing the praises of Bitwala, but some recent reviews complained about customer service displaying poor communication skills. However, most customer service experiences appear to be positive when it comes to speed and quality of service. Other complaints come from serious traders who dislike the relatively high fees on trading through Bitwala. Ultimately, this is the principal flaw that Bitwala suffers from.
Drawbacks of Bitwala
While our impression on Bitwala has been positive so far, this would hardly qualify as a Bitwala review without criticism. There are a few significant shortcomings that prospective adopters need to consider.
Master of None
Bitwala does everything you'd expect from a cryptocurrency bank, but you're going to pay for the convenience that it has to offer. Trading fees, compound interest rates, and similar features are worse than dedicated platforms such as BlockFi. To some extent, this is predictable due to the challenges involved in inventing a new business model. Additionally, Bitwala beats these competitors on convenience, consistency, and security.
European Union Only
When you sign up for a Bitwala account, you need to be a resident of the European Union. Otherwise, your application will be invalid and dismissed out of hand. This is unfortunate for the global community of crypto enthusiasts, as Bitwala isn't available to the majority of them. Since a collaboration with Solarisbank powers Bitwala, Bitwala is subject to German and EU laws in this regard.
Hopefully, more startups will soon follow Bitwala's lead and we'll see cryptocurrency banks pop up in markets around the world. One silver lining is that if you fulfill this requirement, then it's remarkably easy to open your Bitwala account. If you're over 18 with a valid ID and proof of address, you can sign up for a Bitwala account easily.
Pros and cons of Bitwala
- A user can access both a traditional bank account & a crypto trading service from a single application.
- Free cash withdrawals worldwide up to €3000.
- Offers a non-custodial crypto wallet to its users.
- Transparent fee structure
- €100,000 worth of Euro funds is protected German Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS).
- Instant transaction alert after card transactions.
- Bitwala offers its users an annual tax report to make tax filing easier.
- Only supports Bitcoin & Ethereum among cryptocurrencies and Euro among fiat currencies.
- Available in the limited number of countries compared.
- Many users have complained about Bitwala freezing their accounts.
- The crypto trading fees on Bitwala are a bit higher when compared to some of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges.
- Bitwala customer support is slow, and there is a delay in the video verification process due to an upsurge in the number of users.
- No cash deposits available currently on Bitwala.
Compare with Bitwala alternatives
Frequently asked questions about Bitwala
We’ve compiled some answers to questions we often get. Should you have any other questions, feel free to reach out below in the comments.
Where is Bitwala based?
Bitwala is based in Berlin, Germany. They do, however, operate in many countries all around the world.
Which cryptocurrencies are supported by Bitwala?
Currently, Bitwala supports Bitcoin & Ethereum now.
What are the current fees charged by Bitwala?
There are no fees for account opening, outgoing SEPA transfers, incoming transfers, card payments in Germany, card payments in € & other currencies in the SEPA area, and all other card payments. Bitwala also doesn't charge any fees for offline card disposal per day over €3000 and maximum online card disposal per day.
When it comes to the crypto services of Bitwala, they charge 1% of the transaction volume along with 1 € Network fee] for buying cryptocurrencies. For selling cryptocurrencies, Bitwala charges 1% of the transaction volume along with current network fees. The minimum-maximum limit of the trading amount of cryptocurrencies is €30-€15000, whereas the trading limit is set at 50,000 € per rolling seven days.
Which countries does Bitwala accept?
Residents of the European Economic Area, including Switzerland, can use Bitwala. As of now, identification documents from 70+ countries are accepted on Bitwala. Many major countries like the United States and India cannot use Bitwala.
Are your funds secured with Bitwala?
Being a fully regulated non-custodial service provider from Germany, Bitwala complied with all the German laws and regulations. Under their partnership with Solaris, a German bank, the bank account services offered by Bitwala are operated by Solaris. Therefore, the funds that you keep in the Bitwala bank account are protected for up to €100,000 under the German Deposit Guarantee Scheme. It is important to note here that the protection of €100,000 under the German Deposit Guarantee Scheme does not apply to your Bitcoin & Ethereum holdings.
Does Bitwala offer interest on your Bitcoin holdings?
No, Bitwala does not pay interest on your Bitcoin holdings but under their partnership with Celsius Network, you can up to 4.3% interest on your Bitcoin holdings if you are a Bitwala savings account holder.
Bitwala Review: Effective Merger of Crypto and Fiat Currency
While some hardliners may not be interested in Bitwala for investment, others will recognize that time has a value of its own. Investors who don't specialize in cryptocurrency and people interested in using crypto in their day-to-day life, rather than fiat should love Bitwala. While it's not perfect, the cryptocurrency bank does a lot right and it's made us optimistic about the future of crypto banking. As a result, the final verdict of our Bitwala review is 4/5.
If you enjoyed our Bitwala review, then you find our other reviews interesting. Here at Bitcompare, we strive to make crypto accessible for newcomers while providing a friendly, welcoming community for everyone. Whether you're a veteran of the 2018 crypto bust or a beginner who finds the 2020 boom tantalizing, come aboard. Follow our social media accounts, and learn all there is to know about cryptocurrency.