Israel’s second-largest bank, Bank Leumi, will allow crypto trading, according to its digital arm Pepper Invest. Through a partnership with Paxos, the firm will allow customers to trade and hold bitcoin and ethereum, possibly allowing more crypto assets in the future.
Israeli’s Bank Leumi will introduce crypto trading, making it the first Israeli bank to allow the trading of digital assets. The bank’s digital platform Pepper Invest made the announcement on March 24, saying that it would partner with Paxos to facilitate the service. Bank Leumi is the second-largest bank in the country.
Bitcoin and Ethereum in the mix
With the feature, investors will be able to trade and hold cryptocurrencies which, to start with, will only involve bitcoin and ethereum. The minimum value for purchases must be approximately $15.
The move is yet to receive regulatory approval, so it could yet fall through. Pepper Invest said that it will collect tax on the transactions according to the guidelines of the Israeli Tax Authority so that customers will not need to manage tax complexities.
Few other details are available, but more information should arrive in the coming weeks. Regulatory approval will be key, and Israeli authorities are somewhat strict about the crypto market. Binance has halted operations in the country following a request from the country’s financial regulator.
The country is also keen on ensuring that crypto is not used for illicit purposes, and the Defense Minister of Israel has seized 12 crypto accounts related to terrorist groups. As such, any banks or companies wishing to offer crypto services will have to make sure they comply with regulation.
Banks now eager to offer crypto services and innovate
Bank Leumi’s decision to allow crypto trading follows a select number of banks across the world doing the same. Australia’s Commonwealth Bank in November 2021 announced that it would allow its customers to trade crypto on its platform, which was a first for the continent.
Banks have slowly come around to the idea of allowing crypto-related features on their platform. For a long time, they have shied away, with some even going so far as to criticize the market and call it a fad. Now, small banks and institutional ones alike have been taking to crypto.
Incumbent institutions do not want to miss out on the benefits that decentralized technology has to offer. Furthermore, newer platforms like Coinbase and Robinhood have had them scrambling to innovate and keep up.