Switzerland, a nation that’s been quite positive towards crypto business, is facilitating the integration between its traditional financial sector and the blockchain industry. With greater regulatory clarity and stability coming, established banks are plucking up the courage to offer digital asset products and services helped by local fintechs.
Century-Old Swiss Bank Provides Clients With Crypto Storage and Transaction Solutions
Crypto banking has been expanding through partnerships within the industry, but it’s also promising to see a growing number of inter-sector projects with the involvement of established financial institutions. The latest example was provided by 130-year-old Swiss bank Julius Baer and the newly licensed crypto bank SEBA. The well-known wealth manager announced it’s launching new services related to cryptocurrencies. The offerings stem from a partnership with SEBA Bank AG, a Switzerland-based entity that was granted regulatory approval by the country’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma).
“As of now Julius Baer provides its clients with access to various solutions for digital assets storage and transactions to meet an increasing demand,” the private bank said in a recently published press release. For the time being, the services are offered to clients in Switzerland where Julius Baer utilizes SEBA’s “cutting-edge platform and capabilities,” the announcement details.
The partnership agreement between the two companies was concluded last year and Julius Baer revealed in February it’s entering the cryptocurrency market in order to give its customers access to a range of new services. SEBA received its Finma license in August 2019, becoming one of the first two regulated crypto banks in Switzerland, along with another startup, Sygnum Bank AG. A third company, Bitcoin Suisse, applied for a Swiss banking license in July and expects the watchdog’s decision.
Besides the new storage and transaction solutions, Julius Baer has extended its service range to include consolidated portfolio overviews across conventional and digital assets. The financial institution also notes it will provide clients with access to a group of cryptocurrencies. The bank has not revealed the digital coins it’s referring to but emphasizes that these have been selected based on their tradability, safety, and technical reliability.
The coordinated effort should bring benefits to both sides. Julius Baer is a leading service provider with global reach in the banking sector. At the end of October 2019, it had CHF 422 billion ($435 billion) of assets under management. The Zurich-headquartered bank maintains a presence in over 25 countries with offices in Frankfurt, London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Moscow, Mexico City, Mumbai, São Paulo, Singapore, and Tokyo among other destinations.
SEBA Bank launched in November with a range of services bridging the gap between the crypto world and traditional banking. The fintech startup, which is based in Zug, now accepts institutional and private professional clients from nine other jurisdictions beside Switzerland: the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Austria, Portugal, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Switzerland’s Crypto-Friendly Business Climate Accommodates Partnerships Between Banks and Fintech Startups
Examples of this kind of cooperation have become reality thanks to the positive attitude Swiss authorities have towards the nascent blockchain industry. The Crypto Valley, centered on the canton of Zug, is currently home to over 800 companies, a new report revealed. A draft plan to update the country’s banking, corporate and market infrastructure laws was introduced last year to the Federal Assembly. Both houses of the Swiss parliament are expected to debate and agree to adopt the broad changes in order to pave the way for the further development of the sector.
A number of other partnerships between traditional financial institutions and fintech companies have been realized so far. The other Swiss licensed crypto bank, Sygnum, announced this week that the SIX-listed Amun Sygnum Platform Winners Index ETP is now available through its platform and alongside other banks and brokerages. It’s offered in collaboration with Amun AG, a provider of Exchange Traded Products (ETPs) for the digital asset industry. SIX Swiss Exchange, Switzerland’s stock exchange, now has 12 cryptocurrency exchange-traded products listed, as news.Bitcoin.com reported.
Last year, Arab Bank (Switzerland) teamed up with the blockchain tech firm Taurus to provide its customers with access to cryptocurrencies as well as custody and brokerage services for crypto holdings. Bank Vontobel and Taurus are operating a digital asset vault allowing institutional investors to store and trade cryptocurrencies outside their balance sheets. In late 2018, Gazprombank (Switzerland) shared its plans to offer a digital asset management product with the help of Avaloq and Metaco. Falcon Private Bank and digital trading platform Swissquote provide custodial solutions and intermediary services for investors interested in token sales with partners in the crypto industry. Bank Zarattini has similar services in its portfolio offered together with Inacta.
Do you think we are going to see more partnerships between crypto companies and traditional banks in the future? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
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