USAA Starts Accepting Bitcoin via Coinbase

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by Polina Chernykh · 3 min read
USAA Starts Accepting Bitcoin via Coinbase
Photo: 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment/Flickr

Following four-month Coinbase integration pilot program, the largest financial group has launched an option to allow US military personnel check their account balances.

The members of the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) will now be able to view bitcoin balances of Coinbase accounts, as well as the rest of the USAA accounts and financial services, via their mobile and web accounts. This week, the Texas-based financial services group has completed a pilot program that was launched four months ago.

The Fortune 500 group of companies, which includes Texas Department of Insurance, provides a wide range of financial products, including investing, insurance and banking services, to people who served in the US military and their families.

The trial was started as an experimental venture to drive the use of virtual currencies by its customers. It enabled a selected group of members to check their Coinbase bitcoin balances from the USAA portal and mobile app. Upon the successful completion of the program, the group made the check option available to all the members.

“This integration represents the first consumer-facing bitcoin integration to be widely implemented by a Fortune 500 financial services group. As the Bitcoin blockchain continues to be more widely used, USAA has made it easier for members to conveniently monitor their bitcoin holdings and investments,” Coinbase said in a blog post.

In January 2015, USAA took part in Coinbase’s Series C funding round, which brought the company $75 million.  The other investors included The New York Stock Exchange and BBVA Ventures.

USAA first revealed its interest in the blockchain last year, when it started to explore how the technology could improve its operations. The group dedicated a team of researchers to investigate the applications of the distributed ledger.

“We have serious interest in the blockchain and we think the technology would have an impact on the organization. The fact that we have such a large group of people working on this shows how serious we are about the potential of this technology,” the managing director of corporate development at USAA, Alex Marquez, told Reuters almost a year ago.

USAA was established in 1922 by US Army officers who could not obtain auto-insurance because traditional financial service providers considered them high-risk. The organization now holds more than 5% share of the national market and is ranked the sixth biggest US producer of auto insurance.

Currently, it includes more than 23,400 employees in offices located around the country. In 2015, the organization’s assets amounted to $70 Billion. By the end of 2014, the number of USAA members reached 10.7 million customers across 19 markets.

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Polina Chernykh

Polina is an undergraduate student at Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU) where she is studying at the faculty of International Business Communication for a degree specializing in Intercultural Communication. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, music and travelling.

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