Wells Fargo May be the First Bank to Adopt Bitcoin

bitcoin (BTC) with open arms?

In San Francisco next week, Wells Fargo will be heading a meeting of financial executives, United States government officials and virtual currency experts to discuss the “rules of engagement” pertaining to bitcoin and the risk of money laundering schemes, according to a report from the Financial Times.

The meeting will also highlight the security issues related to the digital currency and banking. Industry professionals are warning consumers about investing their money into the unregulated virtual currency market. Although some financial institutions, including Wells Fargo, have become open to the concept of a bitcoin economy, there is still a bit of uncertainty amongst the sector.

Wells-Fargo“We have made enormous investments as a company and as an industry in a payments system that is secure, and we need to be sure we are up to speed with what other things are going on and their risks and rewards,” said John Stumpf, Wells Fargo chief executive. “We want to make sure we understand what it is, what it does and what it does not. The world is changing and will continue to change. Whether Bitcoin will be a big part of that, who knows?”

Quoting sources close to the matter, Jim Richards, Wells Fargo’s anti-money laundering chief, has established a group to investigate how the company can offer bitcoin services to digital currency entrepreneurs. The purpose of the investigation is to produce a series of anti-money laundering rules when working with virtual currency start-ups.

The private sector is beginning to take steps to legitimize bitcoin after the Congressional Research Services (CRS) published a report last month that listed a number of legal and regulatory matters that are still unclear, including national tax issues, foreign exchange trading and federal securities laws.

“State authorities moving in the direction of regulating virtual currencies are sometimes discovering problems in applying existing laws to the technological currencies,” the report stated.

In addition to the banking sector, the Federal Reserve has yet to partake in regulating bitcoin. In a letter to Congress, exiting Fed Chair Ben Bernanke noted that bitcoin, and other virtual currencies, “may hold long-term promise.”

At the time of this writing, bitcoin is currently trading at just over $860.

  • CashInBitcoinOut

    Wells Fargo Shut down one bank account because it was a business account that had the word “Bitcoin” in it… completely unused.

    They shut down my personal account for buying bitcoin through Coinbase. (Direct deposit income, autopay for mortgage and CC both of which are WF, My ONLY other outgoing money is coinbase)

  • Stage Builder

    I have a revolutionary BTC product. I’m looking for investment.

  • How To Cash In BTCs

    Wow, I think that will be huge. Some banks flag our account the second it interacts with CoinBase. Reddit has the details on which banks..

  • Gurpreet Singh

    Banks simply don’t stand a chance going against Bitcoin. Some early flexible financial institutes willing to change their business model and embrace Bitcoin might survive. So this is a good initiative by Wells Fargo.

    • Murray

      Maybe. The actual news in this article is that Wells Fargo is having a meeting to discuss Bitcoin.

      They could have scheduled this meeting to persuade lawmakers to heavily tax or regulate bitcoin out of existence because they see it as a threat. They could also be having this meeting to discuss how Wells Fargo can profit from Bitcoin adoption. That’s how bankers think. Whichever way will make them more money is the way they will push for. They will do this by bribing congressmen.

      Don’t take the Wells Fargo news as positive until it actual is. They are a greedy bank and they want to make money. That is the only certainty right now.

      • xcsler

        Hopefully the recent experiences of the music industry with digital music, the photo industry with digital pictures, and the print industry with digital media will be enough to impress upon the banking industry that their turn has come.

    • StringTheory

      First and foremost I am a Bitcoin advocate and supporter. But you are delusional. 12 Billion dollars is nothing compared to the amount of money these banks process. They do not fear Bitcoin, financial institutions will survive or fall based on decisions REGARDLESS of whether they accept or deny payment.

      Again, I am a supporter of Bitcoin, I run bitcoinasichosting ; one of the biggest mining pools in the world. I have been a proponent of Bitcoin since 2011.

      I call you delusional because Bitcoin needs to mingle and coexist with the current financial structure, not replace or topple it. Bitcoin would be useless without the fiat dollars of your country to exchange them for, and protection from the government. (I am NOT talking about NSA spying etc, I AM talking about if someone came at you in public with a weapon, police would apprehend the aggressor and throw him in jail).

      Wells Fargo deciding what to do with Bitcoin is very important because they will set the precedent for how other banking institutions will deal with it.

      Whether Wells Fargo gives the green light (unlikely) or bans it (likely) what is important is they set a precedent for other banks to create rules for Bitcoin, whether they be good or bad. My money (and my hope) is that one big Bank steps up to Insure, and give business accounts to Bitcoin holders. :)

      Sorry for calling you delusional, but the fact that this was the top comment and had 7 likes has me concerned.