Dutch financial services giant ABN AMRO is experimenting with the idea of launching its own cryptocurrency wallet. Messages posted on the bank’s official Twitter handle have confirmed rumors that it is currently testing its crypto wallet – codenamed Willie – with 500 customers, ahead of further development and possible eventual deployment.
While the identity of the test users remains a closely guarded secret, and further details are not yet forthcoming about Wallie, the bank has been open about its desire to dabble into crypto custody when questioned about the matter on Twitter.
In response to a question from a Twitter user asking whether Wallie is a genuine ABN project, the bank replied:
Hi! Yes! Did you receive this message? We are currently doing an experiment with 500 customers. :)^ Roeland
Included in the reply was a screenshot that appeared to show what the user interface of Wallie looks like, including basic functions like send, receive view balance and view addresses.
ABN’s Foray Into Crypto
ABN has recently been very vocal about its interest in cryptocurrencies on its social media accounts, which flies in the face of the somewhat cautious approach to crypto adopted by authorities in the Netherlands.
Previously, ABN stated that it has an interest in cryptocurrency custody because its research shows that “more and more” of its customers are investing in crypto, and have security as one of their top concerns. According to the bank, it intends to become “a trusted partner” in customer crypto custody.
Earlier today, in response to a tweet speculating about ABN’s intended role in the crypto economy, the bank tweeted:
“Hi Sagar, at the moment, we are mainly investigating and scanning what role we can play in the crypto economy. In doing so, we have a lot of consultations with the AFM and DNB to establish together what is important for consumers.”
The AFM and DNB referred to in the tweet are the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets and De Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch central bank), which are the two regulators in charge of the Dutch cryptocurrency space.
According to currently unverified Dutch sources, the beta version of Wallie currently being tested apparently incorporates support for ABN’s mobile banking app, which potentially raises a series of interesting questions about whether ABN intends to enable crypto-fiat exchange, or whether it is in line with the AFN’s stated policy to end anonymous bitcoin transactions.
At the moment, not much else is known about Wallie and ABN’s future plans for expanding into the cryptocurrency space. Questions about the wallet’s technical specifications and its level of development seem likely to remain unanswered for the time being. All that is known is that one of the world’s biggest banks is getting its nose into crypto custody, and it is exciting.
Coingape will bring more updates as the story develops.
I am a busy writer and journalist with an interest in tech and finance. When I’m not writing and traveling around Africa, you can sometimes catch me in the writers room at ‘The Other News’, Nigeria’s weekly answer to ‘The Daily Show’ with nearly 2 million viewers. My work on ‘The Other News’ has been featured in the New Yorker Magazine. I have been nominated by the US State Department to take part in the 2019 Edward R. Murrow Program for journalists under the International Visitors Leadership Program.