Wells Fargo, America's Largest Bank By Market Cap, Pushing To Offer Bitcoin Services

Tyler Durden's picture

Earlier we pointed out that mortgage origination at Wells Fargo - the bank's bread and butter - is crashing at an unprecedented pace, and as per the conference call, Q1 isn't looking any better. Naturally, it stood to reason that the bank would seek alternative business and product lines to supplant the declining revenue it used to generate when it would originate some $100 billion in mortgages every quarter, now half that number. However, not even in our wildest dreams did we predict just what this "alternative" product would be. Because, as the FT reports, Wells Fargo, the largest US bank by market cap, is currently exploring Bitcoin as just that revenue replacement source. Per the FT: "Wells’ anti-money laundering chief, Jim Richards, has launched a group to examine how it might safely offer Bitcoin-related services or banking arrangements to virtual currency entrepreneurs, according to people familiar with the initiative."


Wells chief executive John Stumpf said it was the bank’s practice to examine financial innovations.


“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,” he said.


“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?”

As the FT accurately points out, "the difficulty in persuading financial institutions to offer bank accounts has become one of the biggest difficulties facing Bitcoin entrepreneurs in the US." Which of course means it is also a great opportunity for the first entrant, such as what almost certainly appears to be Wells:

Wells’ public-private group, comprising more than a dozen members, was scheduled to meet in San Francisco on Tuesday to debate the security issues surrounding banking and Bitcoin. One possible aim would be to produce a set of anti-money laundering principles for established financial institutions to follow when dealing with virtual currency start-ups, according to a person familiar with the event.

Naturally, the US government's desire to increasingly regulate Bitcoin has pushed it to scramble in clearing up what the legal status of Bitcoin is: "last month the Congressional Research Service circulated a report on virtual currencies for policy makers, setting out a list of areas where the legal and regulatory approach to Bitcoin remains unclear. These range from national tax issues, because Bitcoin profits are not recorded within the traditional financial system, to concerns among individual states."

However, as HSBC and various other criminal banks have shown, if a client is willing to pay for a service, regulations and/or laws is the last thing banks are concerned with, so while the US Congress and Fed dither on how to treat Bitcoin first Wells and soon all other banks will provide some Bitcoin-related services.

Then the only question becomes whether the people who have used Bitcoin in the past precisely because it remained at more than arms length away from the big money centers, will continue to do so now that BTC is for all intents and purposes just another institutionalized asset, if not quite currency just yet.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Ranger_Will's picture

Well this will end well...

john39's picture

yeah, this will be problematic for the bitcoin anti-establishment marketing pitch...   anyone still want to claim that some guy in a basement came up with bit coin?  satan coin goes mainstream.

CH1's picture

It's all propaganda until we see what is really done.

Debtonation's picture

I still don't get why so many ZHs hate Bitcoin so much.  It's like they'd rather conduct commerce in fiat.  Of course I'd rather conduct commerce in gold, but Bitcoin is the only viable alternative right now.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

bitcoin is like the Fed....it has Rothschilds fingerprints all over it........

the secrecy behind both bitcoin and the Fed are deeply disturbing....

Stackers's picture

As long as banks dont start issuing fractional reserve credit bitcoins they can do whatever they want for "related" services

fonestar's picture

I don't care if Wells Fargo and the likes of them become involved in Bitcoin because Bitcoin is much more powerful than all of them combined.

BellyBrain's picture

Fantastic religious fervor frothing forth from everyone here who worships the GOD OF MONEY.  Doesn't matter if it's paper, BTC or metals, it's just different versions of the same GOD that you worship.  Money isn't truly necessary for civilization, although very few have the imagination to conceive of how such a society would work.  Carry on.

Rock On Roger's picture

Trade is necessary for civilization.

markmotive's picture

Trade and taxes. Does bitcoin enable both? Not yet.

Bitcoin Myths Exposed:


A Nanny Moose's picture

Taxes? This presumes that government, and the pointing of a gun, are civilized.

Will work for beer.

Richard Chesler's picture

"we couldn't believe the number of suckers that fall for this crap. We had to have a piece of it" said Stumpf.

new game's picture

we want a piece of the action! a fucking banker want in? oh, yea, i see what up!!!

now, imagine if wells ceo said; we are iniitiating the rollout of a precious metals exchange at all of our branches and we want to be involved with the conversion of fiat cuurency for a great store of value!

Ranger4564's picture

BellyBrain, I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, the things that ail our civilization are all related to the obsession with money / power. Both will wane as we enter a sustained surplus socio-economic condition.

BigJim's picture

There's no such thing as a 'surplus' socio-economic condition. People always want more.

Maybe in Iain M. Banks' The Culture we'd have surplus, but we are a long, long way off that.

Ranger4564's picture

We are a long way off only because many want the privilege they currently have maintained. If we were actually focused in trying to create the surplus, we'd have achieved it long ago.

mick_richfield's picture

Money -- real money that powerful men cannot create and distribute at will -- is not a god -- but it is freedom.  Freedom for concenting adults to trade their effort -- their time on this Earth -- freely and without coercion.

False money -- like we have all over the world right now -- is evil.  It represents powerful men controlling the world -- controlling all human interactions -- by forcing us to accept their force-backed 'money'.

The people who tell you that money is evil -- are themselves evil.

Stoploss's picture

Does it have 7000 years of history bonestar? Inquiring minds want to know...

Bitcoin = mainstream now, just another reg op. LOL!!

nope-1004's picture

Bitcoin will be usurped by the bankers.  Can see it happening.  So is it a free, libertarian medium of exchange?  Or a plan to move you into a digital currency where your every move is tracked and soon to be taxed?  The entire thing stinks.  The logo, the gold coin, the secrecy.  Why someone would put their faith into something so nefarious is remarkable.  I think you Bitcoiners are highly delusional and are searching for that one thing that will (falsely) protect you, because you've seen everything else fall victim to US govvy manipulation.  Bitcoin is no different.


BLOTTO's picture

Its because some of us dont trust that its creator and its true intentions are pure and honorable...imo, its seems everyday as bitcoin is mentioned, the more suspicious it seems to get.


BigJim's picture

Why don't we just refer to it as NSAcoin from here on out, and be done with it?

fonestar's picture

NSA has nothing to do with Bitcoin you morons.

mick_richfield's picture

I'm still ready to teach you about how to make arguments without resorting to logical fallacies.

Or you could teach yourself.

Right now you are continuing to act exactly as a paid shill would act.

There are excellent reasons to be suspicious of BTC, and those reasons cannot be disproven by calling people names.

BigJim's picture

 NSA has nothing to do with Bitcoin you morons.

Try looking at most of the original research published on the subject cryptocurrencies. Who was involved with most of it? NSA employees.

topshelfstuff's picture

I think anyone here, if they take a few minutes and seriously think about it, will arrive at the conclusion that Bitcoin, and all the other "cryptos" are creations of the very same TPTB that have been Manipulating gold, silver for a decade+ This year we leaned w/o any doubt that ALL communications, including the encrypted commincations of Global Leaders, e-mail, phone, and much, much more, including people's cell-phones, PC's, TV's that can spy in on you. So are we supposed to believe that Nobody knows or knew about Bitcoin ??? And have you noticed how the same Talking Heads on the Financial Media, the ones who either ignore or trash gold, have been blabbing about Bitcoin constantly, daily. TPTB needed something to point The People to, other than gold and silver, because the USD was reaching the point where it wasn't wanted by many, globally speaking. I hope you all can see that Bitcoin is a FED sanctioned US/UK led "op"/ploy


satoshi101's picture

Where I live most commerce is done in KG's of RICE,... why limit yourself to FIAT or BTC? or GOLD.

Rice makes booze, you can eat it, you can store it, ... you can get anything you want if you have rice.

Food, shelter, family, ... love is way higher on human needs than toilet-paper money, or gold that you cannot eat.


In asia GOLD is kept so that you can run away from your home and start life anew elsewhere, and pocketful of gold can start a new life, ... but its not a replacement for life.


BTC is just one of 1,000's  of cryptocurrency's, so quit this shit that BTC is the only virtual currency option.

The hardest thing in life is to KEEP your wealth, if you play BTC, its only a matter of time before you lose your wealth, and that is the problem.


TheHound73's picture

It's called a free market, come to whatever trading arrangements you and your business partners agree to.

BigJim's picture

Dry Rice does share some of the qualities of money. It's divisible (at least as much as it needs to be - what's a single grain of rice worth? And if you want to subdivide that, I guess you could grind it and sell proportions of the resulting minipile). As long as the amounts compared contain roughly equal amounts of residual moisture, I'd presume it's fairly fungible, too.

It's intrinsically valuable, both in the sense of meeting consumer need and being scarce (at least in the sense it takes human labour to produce it in a useful state)

Portable and durable? Not so much.

fonestar's picture

For all intents and purposes Bitcoin and Litecoin are the only two crypto-currencies.  Dried rice cannot be send accross the globe in real time, so another stupid comparison.

madtechnician's picture

How do you know when Zenofrog has been swallowing too many hormone pills ?

Satoshi101 complains about her beard tickling the back of his kneck while he's being fucked up the ass by her clitoris .

Ranger_Will's picture

I still don't get why so many ZHs hate Bitcoin so much.  It's like they'd rather conduct commerce in fiat.  Of course I'd rather conduct commerce in gold, but Bitcoin is the only viable alternative right now.

I'm sorry, but how exactly is bitcoin not a fiat currency?

Borrow Owl's picture

How exactly is bitcoin a fiat currency?


nmewn's picture

"Satoshi" and his...ahem, board members...as the central bitcoin bankers, collect a capital gain on every "new minting"...thats how.

Just wait till they cash out to fiat, its gonna be epic ;-)

dark pools of soros's picture

hey you show your face again??  where was that wave of terror you and your army were going to scare everyone about?

keep eating your popcorn and watching from the sidelines

nmewn's picture

I'll show my face wherever I want, when I want...soros.

Actually, I'm kinda enjoying the show you feckless turds put on, trying to make a YellenBuck and having it virtually vaporize before your very eyes.

With extra butter & salt ;-)

Bindar Dundat's picture

It is an invention. It is a network and it is a store of value.  Spend a few minutes learning before you spout off...


nmewn's picture

And its encrypted too!!!...yada yada yada...

"WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. National Security Agency has put software in almost 100,000 computers around the world allowing it to carry out surveillance on those devices and could provide a digital highway for cyberattacks, the New York Times reported on Tuesday."


I don't know whats more remarkable about you people, your blind faith of your power inside the digital world or your blind faith that you can move around inside it anonymously.

topshelfstuff's picture

Surpised at anyone who doesn't see through who is behind Bitcoin ---just another diversion to keep The People out of gold and silver ...so, so obvious


Bitcoin Created by NSA & Others December 5 2013


Published on Dec 4, 2013

France has banned cash, silver and gold (including jewelry) in the mail...thanks for watching!

madtechnician's picture

You have it the wrong way around , people are cashing out of fiat and into BTC. And yes , it is already epic ;-)

Harlequin001's picture

It's not even a fiat currency, it's just a number.

You're buying a fucking number, that's all.

with all the inherent wealth that implies. Zero.

dark pools of soros's picture

maybe in another 10 years you'll comprehend what the blockchain is.. right now just consider it witchcraft and not boil your mindless meathead over it

nmewn's picture

You already admitted you cashed out (that would be in fiat wouldn't it?) and set yourself up for...what was it again...two years?

Pump harder soros.

AR15AU's picture

I'm a software engineer, bitch... I stack silver, not BTC!!

Matt's picture

How do you make purchases of goods and services all over the world with your silver? If you need to leave your country and capital controls are in place, how will you take your silver with you?

Harlequin001's picture

You can bet your arse it won't be in bitcoin either...

ever heard of 'back to back' funding?