SEBA Crypto AG, a startup based in Zug, Switzerland, has raised 100 million Swiss francs ($103 million) to establish a bank that offers services related to cryptocurrency.
SEBA has made plans to apply to the Swiss financial market regulator FINMA for a banking and securities dealer license. If approved, this license would enable the startup to conduct trades and investments with crypto on behalf of other investors and banks.
Guido Buehler, a former Managing Director of Assets at UBS and Chief Executive of SEBA, told Reuters that the firm aims to bridge the gax between the cryptocurrency universe and traditional banking. SEBA also hopes to provide consultations on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), corporate financing, and similar digital services to its clients.
According to Andreas Amschwand, the Chairman of SEBA who is also a former UBS banker, “ In Switzerland we have commitment from various authorities to establish a comprehensive regulatory environment for the development of blockchain technology and the sustainable, stable growth of crypto assets.”
SEBA is also planning to spread its reach into major financial destinations and it aims to begin with Zurich in 2019. The investors who have bankrolled the startup include Summer Capital, which is based in Hong Kong, and BlackRiver Asset Management. SEBA has also seen the influx of investors from Malaysia, Switzerland, China, and Singapore.
This development points to the effecta that crypto is beginning to have on the traditional Swiss banking system.
At the beginning of the month, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) issued regulations for banks collaborating with blockchain firms. This was done in a an attempt to forestall a huge exodus of crypto from Switzerland because of its regulatory arbitrage.
According to the SBA guidelines, blockchain firms with ICOs must follow the rules and be subjected to the know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) laws, while startups without ICOs should be seen as small and medium-sized companies.
In June, Switzerland’s Hypothdkarbank Lenzburg became the first bank in the country to provide business accounts to FinTech companies dealing with crypto and blockchain firms. However, the bank has been reported to be extremely selective about the customers it accepts. It has only accepted two companies as of June.
In August, the Maerki Baumann private bank started accepting crypto gotten from crypto mining as well as a payment for services rendered. The bank declared that they will provide “experts” to any of their clients interested in investing in cryptocurrency since they are fully ready to offer direct investments in crypto.
A Swiss financial services company manned by former UBS Group bankers has raised $103 million to achieve its goal of being one of the first regulated banks in the world that allows its clients to trade standard cash assets into cryptocurrency.
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