Swiss bank steps forward to provide accounts for crypto businesses

  • By Tom Cleveland

  • March 2, 2019
  • 12:50 am BST

A major obstacle to the growth of cryptocurrency acceptance in Switzerland has been removed. Up to now, crypto related businesses have been unable to obtain bank accounts and banking service support from domestic banks in the country, but Seba, a new Swiss bank startup has recently partnered with Julius Baer, one of the largest private banks in Switzerland, to provide the bank’s clients with access to crypto.

Swiss authorities have ostensibly been in the blockchain race, so to speak, to be one of many innovative development centers for this new technology, but local banking officials have dragged their feet when it comes to supporting anything to do with cryptocurrencies. As a result, many firms have migrated to Liechtenstein to acquire the necessary banking support to run their businesses.

Guido Buehler, a former UBS executive, decided to do something about this conundrum. He raised $103 million to create his new bank. He is now the CEO of Seba, the first bank in Switzerland offering both traditional banking and crypto services. According to Buehler: “Even for a company like Seba, founded by a group of high-profile former bank executives, it was extremely difficult to obtain a banking partner.” As a regulated bank with the presence of Julius Baer, a well-respected financial institution in its own right, local crypto firms will now have the support they need to expand and grow.

The crypto community now has a reason to celebrate. Buehler noted: “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 an account for us just for the foundation. 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.”

Buehler also mentioned that his firm has relationships with many high net worth investors, who wish to establish positions in cryptocurrencies: “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.”

The advent of Seba is just one more step toward opening the doors for institutional and accredited investors to participate in the cryptocurrency phenomenon. Analysts have predicted that once these doors are opened, there would be a large influx of new capital in the crypto arena, which can only bode well for the future ahead.