Why Litecoin's Creator Is Buying Into a Bank (And How It Could Go Wrong)

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Why Litecoin's Creator Is Buying Into a Bank (And How It Could Go Wrong)

Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:26 pm

One of the most unusual and potentially transformative deals in the cryptocurrency space started as an argument on social media.

Back in April, Charlie Lee, the creator of litecoin, was exchanging barbs on Twitter with Derek Capo, the CEO of payment processor TokenPay. But their fight quickly turned into a friendly exchange of direct messages, in which the two crypto enthusiasts realized they shared a common problem: In a word, banking.

Both the Litecoin Foundation, the non-profit that promotes the sixth-largest cryptocurrency and where Lee is a managing director, and Capo's Virgin Islands-based startup had encountered difficulty securing bank accounts – a longstanding problem for the industry.

"We had lots of trouble" on that front, Lee told CoinDesk.

Capo elaborated: "Some banks, they close down bank accounts if they get a whiff of anything to do with crypto. We saw a lot of competitors with similar offerings get cut off because they didn't own the bank and they didn't have control."

But Capo was working on a solution for TokenPay by trying to buy a bank. And he realized this plan, if successful, could address another problem for Lee.

"Why don't we talk about having a litecoin debit card so that you'll have a real solution?" Capo recalled telling him. "Because, you know, they had been trying very hard to have a litecoin debit card... I said, why don't we talk?"

That is how the Singapore-based Litecoin Foundation ended up owning 9.9 percent of WEG Bank AG, an until-now obscure German financial institution, in a surprise transaction revealed this week.

But the foundation didn't put money in; TokenPay previously acquired the stake and traded it to the non-profit in exchange for future technical support. TokenPay also acquired another 9.9 percent (the maximum allowed in Germany without prior regulatory approval) of WEG and is seeking the green light to buy up to 80 percent. (The price was not disclosed.)

If all goes according to plan, not only will TokenPay and the Litecoin Foundation have a reliable banking partner, they would also transform WEG into an on-ramp for consumers worldwide who want to trade fiat for cryptocurrency or pay for goods and services with crypto.


https://www.coindesk.com/litecoin-bank-tokenpay-crypto/

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