German savings banks are reportedly planning to allow customers to invest in major digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) directly from checking accounts. Savings banks in German-speaking countries, also known as Sparkassen, are working on a pilot to launch an in-house cryptocurrency wallet and exchange next year, local business magazine Capital reported Dec. 13.
The pilot project is subject to approval by Sparkasse committees early next year, while the banking association aims to develop related services at the beginning of 2022. An expert group from German IT service provider S-Payment is reportedly designing the concept for the project.
A corresponding pilot project should start first with individual savings banks, with each of 370 Sparkassen independently deciding whether or not to introduce crypto trading. According to Capital’s sources, a number of the banks have already expressed significant interest in the crypto platform.
Sparkassen are commercial banks operating savings banks in German-speaking countries in a decentralized structure, with each bank operating independently. With around 50 million customers, the savings banks reportedly hold 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) in total assets.
The German Savings Banks Association and S-Payment did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending new information.
Sportswear manufacturer Nike announced the acquisition of virtual sneakers and collectibles brand RTFKT. Nike becomes the biggest U.S.-based athletic products manufacturer through this partnership to join the metaverse bandwagon.
A Cointelegraph report from Nov. 02 highlighted Nike's submission of requests for patenting the words — namesake, swoosh logo and just do it — for use online and in online virtual worlds." The filing was accompanied by two new job postings for virtual material designers, signaling the company's intent to enter the metaverse.
However, the new RTFKT acquisition confirms Nike’s interest in delving into the metaverse ecosystem:
According to Nike, acquiring RTFKT will help the company “deliver next-generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.” John Donahoe, the president and CEO of Nike believes that the move helps accelerate Nike’s digital transformation efforts:
“Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”
Supporting this vision, RTFKT co-founder Benoit Pagotto said that “we’re excited to grow our brand which was fully formed in the metaverse.”
The Russian central bank continues its strict policies regarding the cryptocurrency industry, now officially banning mutual funds from investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).
On Monday, the Bank of Russia published an official statement on regulating investment opportunities by mutual investment funds.
Despite expanding the number of assets available for investment by mutual funds, the document prohibits fund managers from buying cryptocurrencies as well as “financial instruments whose value depends on prices of digital assets.”
The statement emphasizes that mutual funds are not allowed to provide crypto exposure both to either qualified or unqualified investors.
The Bank of Russia previously recommended that asset managers exclude cryptocurrencies from exposure in mutual funds in July 2021. According to a report by local news agency RBC, there have been no Russian mutual funds with crypto exposure despite there having been no formal ban until now.
Artem Deev, head of the analytics department at the brokerage firm AMarkets, reportedly said that Russia has only one industry-related exchange-traded fund (ETF) so far. According to Deev, the fund is managed by the joint-stock management company “BrokerCreditService” and invests in companies focused on decentralized data storage and blockchain, including firms like Jack Dorsey’s Block, PayPal and Broadcom.
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