SEBA Crypto AG Switzerland-based startup has accumulated 100 million Swiss francs ($103 million) to set up a bank offering cryptocurrency-related assistance, Reuters reported September 26.
Retired UBS bankers reportedly direct SEBA — Guido Buehler as chief executive and Andreas Amschwand as chairman — including plans to apply for a banking and securities dealer license from Swiss financial market regulator FINMA. A permit would enable the firm to conduct crypto trading and investments business for other banks and qualified investors.
Buehler told Reuters that SEBA aims to become a bridge between traditional banking and the cryptocurrency industry. The startup also intends to provide corporate financing, including consultations on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and other digital asset-related services to corporate clients. Amschwand commented on the project:
“In Switzerland, we commit various authorities to establish a comprehensive regulatory environment for the development of blockchain technology and the sustainable, stable growth of crypto assets.”
SEBA is purportedly preparing to expand its operations into major financial hubs, starting with Zurich in 2019. Investors who financed SEBA cover such firms as BlackRiver Asset Management and Hong Kong-based Summer Capital, along with other parties from Malaysia, China, Switzerland, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Beginning this month, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) issued basic guidelines for banks working with blockchain startups to prevent a mass crypto exodus from Switzerland due to regulatory arbitrage.
Per the scheme is given by SBA, blockchain firms without Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) should be used like other small- and medium-sized companies. Firms with ICOs must follow strict laws and fall under the purview of Swiss anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) laws.
Maerki Baumann private bank in August began accepting crypto assets from payment accepted for services rendered, as well as those gained from crypto mining. Maerki Baumann remarked that they are not ready to give direct cryptocurrency investments, but will give “experts” to clients interested in crypto investing.
Hypothekarbank Lenzburg in June became the first bank in Switzerland to give business accounts to blockchain and crypto-related fintech companies. But, the bank is reportedly very selective in accepting new customers, and as of June had taken on only two companies from the crypto industry.