Switzerland’s Banking Regulator Grants Licenses to Two Crypto-focused Banks




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FINMA approves crypto banks

The Swiss banking watchdog, Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has granted licenses to two crypto banks. The firms that received these permits are Seba Crypto AG and Sygnum. Both banks unveiled this news in separate statements on August 26. They both received banking and securities licenses.

According to a report, Seba would use this newly-obtained permit to roll out its new trading platform in October this year. The firm’s plan includes the creation of a digital asset platform for professional traders. On top of this, it aims to introduce custody and asset management services.

On the other hand, Sygnum aims to deploy its digital asset offerings into the market. These include a custody and liquidity platform. Reportedly, this platform would list leading crypto coins such as bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and digital Swiss Franc tokens.

Firms with Prominent Backing

Based in Zug, Seba Crypto AG is backed by Julius Baer, a private bank headquartered in Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse. Sygnum is based in Zurich and its board comprises several renowned names in the crypto-verse. Examples are Peter Wuffli, UBS’ former CEO and Philipp Hildebrand, a former Swiss central banker.

A report noted that approving both firms at the same time aims to prevent giving one project a head-start.

FINMA’s Crypto Regulation Framework

This news comes after FINMA published a guide on regulatory requirements for payments on the blockchain. Published on August 26, this new guidance for virtual asset providers applies to blockchain service providers. These include crypto exchanges, wallet providers, and trading platforms.

According to FINMA, it followed FATF’s framework for digital asset regulation. The newly introduced laws aim to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. As such, it requires all firms providing blockchain services in the country to adhere to AML and KYC policies.

The watchdog noted that unlike FATF, it would not have short cuts for unregulated crypto wallets. This is because such an exception would favor unsupervised service providers. As a result, this would prevent supervised providers from stopping the execution of problematic payments.

Bitcoin Suisse, a Swiss-based crypto broker recently announced that it sought to apply for a banking license. Per the firm, this permit would help it expand its product and service offering.

Do you think FINMA’s approval of crypto banks will have a positive impact on the crypto market? Let us know in the comments below.