Stefan Deiss, founder, and CEO of the Swiss crypto accelerator, Blockchain Propulsion, spent two months looking for a bank account for Polo Pecem, the world’s first blockchain-powered “Smart Chain City,” one of the companies under his wing. “That’s a long time in the life of a startup,” he said to Decrypt.
That’s why Deiss, and countless others, are cheering the launch of Switzerland’s two new crypto asset banks, Zug-based Seba and Zurich-based Sygnum. The crypto banks, which are aiming to serve asset managers, regular banks and startups, will now be regulated, just like other financial institutions. The Swiss regulator, FINMA, granted Seba and Sygnum provisional banking and securities licenses. They are the first such licenses granted anywhere in the world and will enable the banks to integrate cryptocurrency into a wide range of services—deposits, withdrawals, lending and investing.
Perhaps most important, they will fill the void in banking services for cryptocurrency traders and entrepreneurs, who are regularly denied and locked out of bank accounts because of the risky reputation of crypto companies.
Dedicated crypto banks are nearly here. “It’s a great move for Switzerland, but also other countries around the world because now you have banks that are specialized in crypto,” said Deiss.