Cryptocurrencies: Alt/Bitcoin

How about hosting Bitcoin wallets and possibly other crypto-currencies?

 

Likewise, buying, selling, and trading with bitcoins would be great so a member can convert some cash into bitcoins.

22 Comments
Community Manager

I'm really enjoying all the dialogue around this topic - thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts. I recently listened to an interesting Fresh Air podcast on NPR about understanding Bitcoin, and I thought I'd share it with the group! You can access it here. Happy listening! JohnS

Trailblazer

So, a couple of things I'd like to make straight. There's no reason why BECU should change their business agenda to become primarily a host or exhange for Alt/Bitcoin addresses and wallets and certainly shouldn't be forcing all of the members to adopt any type of currency in any capacity whatsoever. It should be a pure opt-in. Might even require a fee just to generate the address or wallet and to make transactions.

Bitcoin/Altcoin wallet and address hosting should be available only as an option to the member just like other options such as credit cards and money market accounts. Yes, the currencies are frought with possible fraud of all types, but so is cash. I'd argue that because it's useful to criminals, it's useful to ordinary users. Do criminals wish to break into these wallets and addresses? Of course they do, but they can't because the blockchains are not cracked. There's a very large incentive to crack them. They are secure. The SSL one uses to connect to BECU's online banking is probably weaker than cryptocurrency blockchains (but don't quote me on this because I have not researched it). Criminals want to break into your bank accounts and steal your money anyways.

There are many advantages to cryptocurrencies such as reduced fees, anonymity, and that its protected from timultuous political environments. Because of the blockchain, it cannot be altered by any entity, even governments.

The strength of the currencies are in the faith people have with the blockchain security. The USD has a lot of faith because it's backed by the American government. It's considered valuable for that reason even though it's fiat.

BECU gains value from the hosting of these addresses and exchange because:
* More value to customers means more customers

* If they spawn up peers for the blockchain, they will earn a small percentage

* May even charge fees on purchasing cryptocurrencies like Coinbase.

The advantage to customers:

* A bartering substance similar to currencies, tradable, but doesn't get taxed

* The ability to transfer wealth quickly and cheaply, this also means smaller transactions (know the $5 minimum credit card purchase limits at small stores?)

* The ability to engage in cryptocurrencie only services and goods

* Any advantages that the currencies uniquely bring such as Etherium's smart contracts.

 

Are these really just ponsy schemes? Maybe. Maybe not. That's for the user to decide when he or she goes onto the BECU online banking interface, clicks on that obscur tab he or she probably never uses, clicks on that icon for the wallet generation scheme, clicks on the "Yeah, I accept," and the next, "No, really, I accept," buttons, and then pays the fee and viola! Welcome to the 21st century. Then BECU makes sure you get those nice red warnings at the top of the screen to make sure you get the point about how to keep your wallet secure.

Nothing wrong with offering a service that's entirely opt-in, and even charges a fee (maybe to fund a legal team just in case things go wrong).

Remember, buyer beware. You lose your coins, you should have read those annoying red warning banners the BECU Online Banking interface keeps presenting.

Sightseer

I would love to see BECU open a basic Crypto exchange. I personally think Ripple (XRP) is the block chain Bankc sould use as it has been designed from the ground up for this purpose.

 

I have done a little bit of speculative trading in Crypto but I would love to see it used like actual currency. I would like to:

 

1) Open an account for a specific crypto currency alongside my checking and savings.

2) Be able to transfere money between the two seemlessly

3) Send crypto currency to other banks that host crypto wallets.

 

My wife has family in Brazil and the fees to send USD are incredible. If BECU hosted a crypto wallet and we found a bank in Brazil that did the same we can use cryptos for exactly their designed purpose. Personally, I want the banks involved as it brings stability to the currency. Please BECU! Put resources into this! It is not a risk to you or your customers if you simply host the wallets.

Sightseer

I personally do not wish to see BECU get into the crypto space for various reasons, but I would like some assurance that BECU won't arbitrarily block members from using their accounts to fund their cryptocurrency accounts via sites like Coinbase, etc. I've read of other banks and CUs doing just that. So far, I haven't had issues. I did get some phone calls to verify transactions, which is fine and desired to protect my account. As long as I can still do it-- both spending and recieving fiat-- I'm okay with the status quo.

Tourist

Much to my disappointment I will be switching banks from BECU to one that allows me to invest MY money into crypto. Sadly not allowing customers to transfer THEIR money to an investment account of their choosing is only going to leave BECU out in the cold.

Tourist

 Much to my disappointment I will be switching banks from BECU to one that allows me to invest MY money into crypto. Sadly not allowing customers to transfer THEIR money to an investment account of their choosing is only going to leave BECU out in the cold.

Trailblazer

@Kckinwa, to be fair, BECU isn't forbidding transferring money to the account of your choosing. I have in fact transferred money to a couple of investment accounts, including cryptocurrency gateways. BECU did not pose any obstruction. Perhaps there's an account you attempted to use but found something that BECU did that hindered your success? It took a while to get my first transfer with coinbase to work. It was irritating but that's how it works with Know Your Customer laws.

Tourist

@PeterFA unfortunately you are incorrect, coinbase has removed BECU from the list of banks due to BECU blocking transfers. 

Trailblazer

@Kckinwa, BECU tolerates my transactions. I don't know if your experiences are different.

Community Manager

Thanks for continuing the conversation @Kckinwa and @PeterFA! With any new or emerging trend, we sometimes have to learn as we go. What we’re learning is that many of the exchanges where people buy Bitcoins are based abroad. When setting up Coinbase using your BECU Debit or Credit Card (which is one of the options), our fraud monitoring may identify foreign transactions, and potentially block them for your protection.

 

Also, with the rise in value of Bitcoins and the anonymity digital currency provides, fraudsters are always looking for new ways to cash in (pun intented), so we’re admittedly being extra cautious in this space.

 

We're balancing your experience with our obligation to protect your accounts and money while we work towards a more robust solution that is beneficial to both. If you’d like to read further about digital currencies and our current stance, check out the blog post here.  JohnS