This week Coinbase announced that they’d partnered with USSA to launch a pilot program that allows USAA members to view their Coinbase balance through their online and mobile accounts.
The implementation is a fairly straight forward one and is done through Coinbase’s API (see HERE for a GIF that shows the setup process). The end result is that a new external account is created in a USSA customer’s online banking account that allows them to view their Coinbase balance.
Although, it might seem trivial to show the balance of a bitcoin wallet in a bank account, it does solve a problem that some banks have been lamenting. This integration provides an easy way for USSA to provide some level of connectivity with bitcoin without the regulatory overhead of running a full bitcoin wallet service. In many ways, it shows a path that other banks can follow to connect with a new market of bitcoin consumers.
Most banks are unlikely to have the appetite to integrate bitcoin, as there is currently little upside and a fair amount of potential repetitional downside. However, institutions that have been thinking about integrating bitcoin into their service now have a clear example of how that might be done.
Given the broad reach Coinbase now has, after their series C ‘bank party round’, we might see other similar integrations with financial institutions that participated in their funding rounds. Fingers crossed.