Switzerland represents a unique dichotomy when it comes to accepting all things crypto. Government officials have willingly thrown their country’s hat into the ring, vying for the economic benefits of having a blockchain development center headquartered in country. Crypto Valley is an ecosystem centered in and around the Swiss canton of Zug with active connections to other crypto centers about the globe and has hosted more than one large crypto conference. The local banking establishment, however, has not bought into the strategy. It denies banking access to crypto related companies, until now.
The Swiss crypto community is abuzz with the news that Julius Baer, a Swiss banking giant, “plans to provide its client access to digital asset services, following a partnership with crypto bank startup Seba Crypto.” Julius Baer is partnering with Seba, a startup bank that has raised over $100 million for the express purpose of providing both banking and crypto support services for its clients.
Seba is presently seeking a securities dealer and banking license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. After it is granted, Julius Baer will begin offering digital asset storage, as well as transaction and investment solutions, along with its banking partner.
Peter Gerlach, Head of Markets at Julius Baer bank, stated that:
At Julius Baer, we are convinced that digital assets will become a legitimate sustainable asset class of an investor’s portfolio.
As strange as it may seem, crypto firms have a difficult time acquiring even the most basic of banking services in Switzerland. According to Guido Buehler, a former UBS executive and CEO of Seba:
We will provide custody storage and we will provide transaction banking services and us, as Seba, as a company, a Swiss company with Swiss money and with Swiss founders, we had a very hard time to find a bank that opens account for us just for the foundation.
He went on to add:
We know it first hand how challenging it is [to open bank accounts in Switzerland for crypto companies] and Switzerland has declared, in the beginning of this year, that it wants to be one of the crypto nations of the world in 5 years, but how can you be that nation if you don’t offer those services to the crypto community.
Many crypto firms have had to migrate to Liechtenstein to open bank accounts and deal with cross-border payment headaches. Seba and Julius Baer are determined to correct this anomaly and move one step closer to welcoming institutional players and wealthy investors to the crypto party.
Buehler is also confident that his wealthy clients will want to participate:
Ultra high net worth individuals, they are very interested for two reasons: one is the technical aspect of it so it’s blockchain and crypto and the new basis model that will emerge out of it but the second one is about wealth preservation. Bitcoin can be considered as a very stable store of value.