Banks have existed since Egyptian times, but not as we know them today, with checking and savings accounts, safe deposit boxes for gold and jewelry, mortgage loans on the ready, and thousands of dollars of cash on hand. Financial institutions are helpful for society, and all, but their power rests in their own hands - not the collec5ive hands of society.
Cryptocurrencies, a development less than a decade old, don't require financial institutions for any transactions, they allow their users to largely stay anonymous, and the control over them does, in fact, rest in the power of the people.
Financial institutions as we know them have continually swatted away chances at working with cryptocurrencies, until now. VPE WertpapierhandelsBank AG - what a mouthful - is a bank in Germany that engages in the trade of securities, and recently linked up with solarisBank, a tech company that's also based in Germany, to form an exchange platform to trade cryptos.
While the development is certainly positive for the welfare of cryptocurrencies and their users, it will only be open for institutional investors, or organizations that deal with transactions worth millions of dollars at a time.
In terms of Germany, VPE is slated to be the very first and only financial institution in all of Germany to offer cryptocurrencies to any clients, even though they will only be financial institutions, themselves, and institutional investors.
It is possible, however, for individuals to request to be called a professional client, which are on the same level as the aforementioned institutional investors, though there is no guarantee that they can be granted such a status.
News sources have also perpetuated in recent weeks that Barclays started to gauge consumers interest in a trading desk for cryptocurrencies, though it's not clear if the bank will go through with creating and operating one.