In first for Israeli banking, Leumi to enable crypto trade

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People use an ATM at a branch of Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv, Israel November 22, 2021. REUTERS/Corinna Kern

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JERUSALEM, March 24 (Reuters) - Bank Leumi (LUMI.TA) will become the first Israeli bank to enable cryptocurrency trading, its digital platform Pepper Invest said on Thursday after partnering with U.S. blockchain firm Paxos.

It said the new service will allow Pepper Invest customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies -- limited to Bitcoin and Ethereum, for now -- in transactions worth at least 50 shekels ($15.49).

The statement gave no launch date, saying regulatory approval is pending. Leumi is one of Israel's two largest banks.

"Pepper will collect tax according to the guidelines of the Israeli Tax Authority so that customers will not need to manage tax complexities," it said, adding that the service will also eliminate the risks of downloading a digital wallet.

($1 = 3.2272 shekels)

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Writing by Dan Williams; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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