Berlin-based crypto banking startup Bitwala has announced the launch of their bitcoin banking app for iOS and Android.

Customers in all 31 countries of the European Economic Area can now open a German bank account, with integrated bitcoin wallet and trading, within minutes, said the company in a statement.

Benjamin Jones, co-founder, and chief technical officer of Bitwala, said in the statement that “Onboarding is now directly integrated into the app. Once you have an account, you can seamlessly integrate your daily banking activities - whether in bitcoin or Euro - into your everyday life.” 

The company said that all bank accounts will be hosted by solarisBank, a licensed German bank supervised by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), and deposits up to €100,000 will be protected by the German deposit guarantee scheme.

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Customer Bitcoin balances, according to the company’s chief financial officer Christoph Iwaniez, are “booked directly on the Blockchain via a multi-signature wallet,” allowing customers to be “fully in control of their wallets at all times.”

In other words, unlike many centralized bitcoin exchange platforms, Bitwala customers hold their own private keys.

The Bitwala wallet also allows peer-to-peer transfers, payment requests via QR code, and gives users the option of authorizing transfers using biometrics.

Account-holders receive a free debit Mastercard that can be used for contactless payments and free withdrawals at over 40 million locations worldwide, and pay a one percent fee on bitcoin trades.

Bitwala was founded in 2015 in Berlin and at present employs a team of more than forty.