Quontic, a small bank in New York that is starting to work with crypto companies, gifted 20 dollars in bitcoin to its 180 employees a few months ago.
The purpose is to educate the staff so that they learn how to use cryptocurrencies and to prepare for the mass adoption of these technologies. They are also trying to hire new staff with experience in the cryptocurrency industry.
In addition, Quontic has opened a bank account for a bitcoin ATM company and is in the process of finalising a contract to provide banking services to another startup in the crypto sector.
The bank’s managing director, Steven Schnall, said
“We’re just taking steps so that when the regulatory environment becomes more crypto-friendly, we don’t have a lot of catching up to do. We’re looking to diversify our product offering and our customer mix by entering into that field”.
Schnall says he was already interested in bitcoin when it was worth less than $1 and bought his first bitcoin in 2013 for $75, then lost 500 BTC due to the bankruptcy of Mt Gox.
Later, together with the bank’s general manager of innovation, Patrick Sells, they started to mine ethereum in January 2018, and they even considered issuing their own token (QCoin) through an ICO but gave up after last year’s market crash.
Now, the two are convinced that banks and cryptocurrencies can have a symbiotic relationship with each other, even though there are currently many problems for banks working with customers in the crypto sector, including the needs related to KYC and, above all, anti-money laundering regulations.
Banks are required by law to pay attention to any suspicious activity and this is extremely difficult, for example, in the case of companies that have done an ICO without KYC or AML.
For this reason, there are very few banks in the US that welcome companies working in this sector: apart from Quontic, only Silvergate in California and Signature and Metropolitan Commercial in New York are known.