German savings banks are planning to allow customers to invest in major digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) directly from checking accounts.

Savings banks in German-speaking countries, also known as Sparkassen, are working on a pilot to launch an in-house cryptocurrency wallet and exchange next year, local business magazine Capital reported Dec. 13.

The pilot project is subject to approval by Sparkasse committees early next year, while the banking association aims to develop related services at the beginning of 2022.

A spokesperson for the German Savings Banks Association confirmed the news to Cointelegraph, stating:

“More and more consumers are interested in crypto-assets. One in ten customers of the German Savings Banks states he/she owns or has owned crypto-assets. Considering their expectations, the Savings Banks Finance Group has to look into crypto-assets, too.”

The representative added that an expert group from the German IT service provider S-Payment is now “exploring ways to provide an option to safely store crypto-assets in a wallet for selected customers.”

A corresponding pilot project should start first with individual savings banks, with each of 370 Sparkassen independently deciding whether or not to introduce crypto trading. According to Capital’s sources, a number of the banks have already expressed significant interest in the crypto platform.

Sparkassen are commercial banks operating savings banks in German-speaking countries in a decentralized structure, with each bank operating independently. With around 50 million customers, the savings banks reportedly hold 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) in total assets.

S-Payment did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

Related: New German government cites crypto in coalition agreement

Germany has emerged as one of the world’s most crypto-friendly countries, with the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority issuing a crypto custody business license for Coinbase’s Germany arm earlier this year. German stock market operator Deutsche Boerse has also listed more than 20 crypto exchange-traded products on its digital exchange, Xetra.