Switzerland approves bank licenses for projects focused on cryptocurrencies
Swiss banking regulators granted banking licenses to two cryptocurrency-centric banks, the first in the Alpine nation. Both projects are backed by heavy financial artillery and high-profile bankers.
The companies Seba Crypto and Sygnum obtained bank licenses from Swiss financial regulator Finma, both cryptocurrency banks said on Monday in separate statements. This event confirms the reports of a medium, made last month, which suggested that Finma would choose to grant bank licenses to both cryptocurrency projects at the same time.
This movement represents the incursion of the burgeoning blockchains industry in the traditional banking industry. Seba and Sygnum form a group of cryptocurrency banks that aspire to be the first to be launched.
The company established in Zug, Seba has partnered with Julius Baer, the private bank whose head office is located on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich. The Sygnum company committee, established in Zurich, includes former UBS CEO Peter Wuffli, and as former company advisor to former Swiss banker Phillipp Hildebrand.
The simultaneous approval of both banks has the purpose of avoiding giving an inadvertent advantage to one project over the other, or even giving a better public impression to one of them. The endorsement of the Finma was carried out six weeks after the Bitcoin Suisse cryptocurrency exchange revealed its plans to move towards a banking license in Switzerland.
Separately, on Thursday the Finma imposed regulations against money laundering, rooted in the guidelines of a G7 working group called FATF. Specifically, Seba Crypto, Sygnum and other possible cryptocurrency banks that could follow these are only allowed to send cryptocurrencies and other tokens to users whose identities are verified.
The regulator established in Bern said that cryptocurrency banks would not be allowed to receive or send tokens from other institutions, if the counterpart information cannot be relayed through the traditional payment system. Finma said that, unlike the FATF, it will not grant any escape for unregulated cryptocurrency purses.
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