By banning its customers from buying and holding MicroStrategy and Coinbase stock due to their indirect connection to "virtual currency products," HSBC made clear last week that it has no interest in participating in the accelerated demand for Bitcoin — and by extension, neither can the customers of Europe's largest bank.
This decision adds HSBC to a list of banks that have either directly stated their dislike for Bitcoin, or whose customers have many stories to tell of frozen accounts due to a connection to cryptocurrencies. And although most bitcoiners would prefer to simply turn their back on the legacy banking system, as it stands, that would still make life pretty difficult. This raises the question: which banks can bitcoiners use in 2021?
Notably, some exchanges report that their clients rarely have issues depositing and withdrawing funds via a traditional bank account. Where it gets trickier is when you want your bank account to do more than serve as a channel for fiat deposits and withdrawals. While most legacy banks indeed offer no or limited services for Bitcoin holders, there is growing list of banks that have chosen to embrace Bitcoin rather than barring their users from accessing it.
Keep in mind that most banks with cryptocurrency offerings will provide these services via a custodian, meaning you don't hold any assets you purchase yourself.
Available in Europe
The licensed direct bank based in Southern Germany provides basic account features as well as cards and investment options for private and corporate clients. Fidor offers its Bitcoin investment options via a partnership with crypto exchanges Kraken and Bitcoin.de — the collaboration with the latter of which allows Fidor's clients to instantly buy and sell Bitcoin via their bank account interface.
Available in the U.S.
Ally has risen in popularity among bitcoiners for its open-mindedness towards cryptocurrencies. Although Ally doesn't specifically mention Bitcoin purchase options on its site, Ally customers can reportedly purchase Bitcoin using their debit or credit card and link their crypto exchange accounts to their bank account.
Available in Europe
The UK startup quickly made a name for itself as a challenger bank, welcoming over two million customers to date. Providing its services completely online without a physical branch, Revolut offers clients in Europe a debit card, a budgeting feature, and various investment options — including cryptocurrencies.
Available in select countries in Europe, North America, and South America
BBVA is a Spanish bank that provides its services in 35 countries around the world. The bank has been very outspoken about its support for cryptocurrencies: in December last year, it announced the launch of a Bitcoin trading and custodial service for its private banking clients in Switzerland. BBVA describes the launch as a "first step" and has outlined its future plans to venture further into the digital asset space.
Available worldwide except for sanctioned countries and the U.S.
Bankera is a neobank licensed in Lithuania that was launched in 2017 by the team behind a local crypto exchange. Bankera provides its clients around the world with IBAN accounts and access to SEPA transfers and serves both private and corporate customers. On its website, Bankera explicitly welcomes cryptocurrency businesses to open an account with the bank.
Available almost everywhere
Although you will find the occasional report of blocked transactions or frozen accounts following an interaction with a crypto exchange, as a whole, accounts at large banks will often do the trick when it comes to simple withdrawals and deposits. That said, large transactions are more likely to be flagged than smaller ones, and some banks may have certain difficulties with specific exchanges. If you're a customer at a traditional bank or considering opening an account with one, your best bet is to research reports and incidents related to that specific bank to weigh your options.