European cryptocurrency banking platform Bitwala, formerly known as Nuri, is re-entering the market after stopping operations and returning customer funds last year. Bitwala is making a comeback under its original name in partnership with the support of the banking infrastructure company Striga, as announced in a joint statement to Cointelegraph on Nov. 8.
The partnership with Striga is expected to provide Bitwala with “Banking and Crypto-as-a-Service,” allowing the crypto banking app to utilize its trading and card-issuing functionality, according to Bitwala CEO Dennis Daiber.
Bitwala, which rebranded as Nuri in 2021, filed for insolvency in August 2022 due to liquidity issues arising amid a significant crypto bear market that was triggered by the Terra crash. The company eventually ceased operations in October 2022, requesting its 500,000 users to withdraw their assets before the year-end deadline.
Daiber explained that the company wanted to build a bank, and had all the necessary documentation, audits, applications, and approvals. However, the only missing component was 50 million euros for liquidity coverage ratio and runway. Additionally, various events, including the Terra crash, had caused investors to refrain from investing, ultimately leading to a shortage of funds.
The partnership with Striga has resolved one of the key challenges faced by Bitwala by providing compliant digital assets and banking infrastructure “without the need to handle any regulatory burden.” Striga, founded in 2018, offers financial services infrastructure for companies in crypto and banking, and is a fully-owned subsidiary of Lastbit, incorporated in Delaware, the United States.
Bitwala’s app is now accessible in 29 countries within the European Economic Area, enabling users to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) with the euro using Single Euro Payment Area transfers. Future developments for the platform include integrating the Lightning Network and introducing a crypto-backed Visa debit card, created in collaboration with Striga.
The relaunch of Bitwala signifies a significant milestone for the firm, which has experienced challenges since its establishment in Germany in 2015.
CEO Daiber emphasized Bitwala’s return to its roots by focusing on the self-custodial Wallet, which provides secure self-storage of users’ crypto. Bitwala’s emphasis is on enabling everyday Bitcoin usage via on- and off-ramps, as well as launching a Visa card in the near future.
Bitwala’s return comes after a period of setbacks, showcasing the firm’s resilience and commitment to its mission and vision. This relaunch signifies a second chance for Bitwala to establish itself in the cryptocurrency banking sector.