Swiss bank Julius Baer and cryptocurrency banking startup SEBA Crypto AG have partnered to provide clients with a range of digital asset storage services. According to Julius Baer's press release regarding the partnership, the bank plans to use SEBA Crypto AG's platform to offer storage, transaction, and investment solutions for those holding digital assets.
In September 2018, SEBA Crypto AG raised over $100 million in its quest to create a bank that will offer both cryptocurrency and traditional banking services. The startup, guided by former Union Bank of Switzerland managers Guido Buehler (CEO) and Andreas Amschwand (chairman of the board of directors), was set to use part of the funds raised to build its physical bank and the remainder as capital for the bank to offer investment protection.
After the money was raised, SEBA Crypto AG began to work with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), the country's financial regulator, to obtain a banking and securities dealer license. According to the bank's press release, the partnership will come into effect once FINMA has granted SEBA Crypto AG its license. In early December 2018, in order to promote innovation, FINMA announced it would be relaxing license requirements for blockchain-based projects looking to become part of Switzerland's FinTech sector.
In its own separate press release, SEBA Crypto AG confirmed that its platform will be used to bring Julius Baer clients "easy and secure access to [digital asset] services in a fully regulated environment." For its own banking aspirations, the startup partnered with mortgage bank Hypothekarbank Lenzburg AG this January to bring its traditional banking system to SEBA Crypto AG's digital asset-based services.
Julius Baer's announcement joins a string of Swiss and other European financial institutions looking to include digital asset services in what they offer to current and potential clients. In December 2018, Gazprombank (Switzerland) announced that it would begin to develop cryptocurrency-linked banking services to be offered in 2019. That same month, the German stock exchange Börse Stuttgart began working on a cryptocurrency trading program that would allow buyers and sellers to deal in financial instruments that may not have an official market. And more recently, at the beginning of February, the Swiss stock exchange SIX released its plans to launch the SIX Digital Exchange, a blockchain-based platform meant to allow for exchange trades to be made in a fraction of a second.