Money

Swiss Startup Raises Over $100M to Launch Cryptocurrency Bank

SEBA Crypto AG, a new cryptocurrency bank, was launched last month with 100 million Swiss francs ($103 million) backing it and the guidance of two former UBS bankers to lead it.

Photo: SEBA

The two former UBS executives, Guido Buehler and Andreas Amschwand, are taking the roles of chief executive and chairman, respectively, for the new institution. They are in the process of setting up the new bank, and are reportedly in the process to apply for a banking and securities dealer license from FINMA, the Swiss financial market regulatory body. The license will allow the company to proceed with both cryptocurrency trades, plus investments from other banks and properly qualified investors.

According to Buehler, SEBA – like other major players now entering the field – has the goal of providing a link between the cryptocurrency industry and conventional banking services. SEBA will also consult on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), assist with related digital asset services, and support corporate financing as needed.

Incoming CEO Buehler said the Swiss environment has been a good one for establishing something so unique as SEBA. As he noted in a recent statement, “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.”

As one example, in September the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) established basic guidelines for banks working with blockchain startups. The goal for the SBA was to act on this before those interested in cryptocurrencies felt they had to leave Switzerland to set up their businesses. Among the new rules established was to clarify that blockchain firms without ICOs should be handled just like any other company. If Initial Coin Offerings are involved, the companies would need to follow the Swiss anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) provisions of the national law.

Switzerland is proving to be one of the more forward-thinking of countries when it comes to cryptocurrency trading and banking. In June, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg took the lead as the very first bank in the country to set up business accounts for blockchain and digital asset fintech corporations. Then, in August, the Maerki Baumann private bank became one of the first to accept crypto assets from payment received for service rendered, including funds earned from crypto mining.