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Bitcoin is coming to 'hundreds of US banks' — what you need to know

Bitcoins
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Bitcoin could become much easier to use, thanks to a new plan to allow customers of hundreds of U.S. banks to buy, sell and hold the cryptocurrency through their existing accounts.

The scheme, as reported by CNBC, is a partnership between crypto custody firm NYDIG and fintech company Fidelity National Information Services and will enable customers to use the top cryptocurrency as easily as they do regular cash. Hundreds of smaller banks have reportedly signed up to the program, which is expected to launch in the next few months.

Bitcoin has grown massively in the past few years, to the extent that it now has a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion and a value of around $55,000 per coin. 

However, one of the barriers to mainstream acceptance of the cryptocurrency has been that buying and selling it typically involves using one of a range of apps from new services such as Robinhood and Coinbase. While some people will be comfortable with that, others may prefer to wait until it's supported by the financial organizations with which they're already familiar.

As Patrick Sells, head of bank solutions at NYDIG, says, “What we’re doing is making it simple for everyday Americans and corporations to be able to buy Bitcoin through their existing bank relationships. If I’m using my mobile application to do all of my banking, now I have the ability to buy, sell and hold Bitcoin.”

Many of the banks to have signed up so far are smaller firms such as Suncrest, a California-based bank with seven branches. But NYDIG says it is in discussions with some of the biggest U.S. banks to join the program.

Crypto funds have enjoyed massive growth recently, with both Dogecoin and Ether — the cryptocurrency based on the Ethereum blockchain — reaching record highs

With consumer interest growing, several established financial giants have moved into the space. Last week, Coinbase announced a partnership with PayPal to allow its users to purchase crypto via their existing accounts, and there have also been rumors that eBay will soon allow purchases using the likes of Bitcoin.

  • More: Robinhood app — how it works and everything you need to know