Switzerland’s banking industry has long been known to privately safeguard wealth, so some bankers see bitcoin as a natural fit for the nation’s financial sector. Although such bankers may still be a minority, Zurich-based SEBA Bank AG opened in November 2019 with a universal banking license and a suite of services ranging from fiat storage to crypto custody, a crypto-connected debit card that automatically converts to fiat on the backend for regular shopping and crypto-trading options through the bank’s mobile app.
SEBA CEO Guido Bühler said the bank raised 100 million Swiss francs (roughly $103.4 million) from angel investors like Guy Schwarzenbach, founder of Black River Asset Management.
SEBA was hardly the first bitcoin-friendly Swiss bank. The private bank Falcon Group, for example, launched bitcoin management services in 2017. Matthew Blake, the World Economic Forum’s monetary systems lead, described crypto-friendly, fully licensed banks as an emerging trend.
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