Former Barclays Exec to Launch UK’s First Regulated Crypto Bank in 2020
Mark Hipperson, who was head of technology for the Barclays group for over a decade as well as co-founder and former CTO at U.K. challenger bank, Starling, is planning a Q1 2020 launch for his latest digital banking venture, Ziglu.
Billing itself as the next step in the challenger bank concept, the all-digital account will allow multiple currencies, both fiat and digital, to be held in the same account.
HODL, exchange, spend
The free account will not just be able to hold balances in multiple currencies, but also freely exchange funds between them. Foreign currencies will be available to buy and sell at Interbank rates, and cryptocurrency purchases and sales will be available at the best price across multiple exchanges.
Not only that, according to the Ziglu website, any currency held on the account can be spent anywhere in the world using a Mastercard debit card. That includes cryptocurrencies, which will be converted instantly at point of sale.
UK-only for now
Hipperson has been CEO of Ziglu since September 2018, and the company has applied to the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to become an issuer of electronic money.
Currently, pre-launch applications are being taken, but only from U.K. residents, although there are plans to expand this in the future. Specifically:
“While we intend to expand our offerings to other countries in due course, currently only UK-residents who are at least 18 years of age may use our services and are eligible to apply for a Ziglu account.”
Bringing together must have banking innovations
Ziglu is certainly not the first company to offer a combined fiat/crypto account. As Cointelegraph reported back in August, Bitwala launched an account with an attached Bitcoin wallet and has since added Ethereum functionality.
It is also not the first cryptocurrency-backed debit card offering. But the combination of multiple fiat currencies, plus holding of crypto, along with the ability to spend any currency using a card with instant conversion at the point of sale, maybe the combination that punters haven’t realized they needed until now.