A financial services company in Switzerland just raised $104 million from private and institutional investors to create a cryptocurrency bank. Based in Zug, Switzerland, Seba Crypto AG wants to create a bank that will let consumers easily swap Dollars and Euros for cryptocurrency.
The company is run by EX-UBS Group AG bankers and they are still waiting on a banking license from Finma, the Swiss financial regulator. According to people within the company, the application will be submitted for a license by the end of October with the expectation that it will be cleared by mid-2019.
According to an interview with Reuters, the CEO of the firm has said that the goal is to “bridge the gap between traditional banking and the new world of crypto.” He made clear that Seba would be responsible for many crypto-related services including custody, trading, and virtual currency asset management. It will be open to both private and institutional investors. Bank accounts will be available in both cryptocurrency and fiat.
The way it is now, the relationship between fiat and cryptocurrencies is tenuous. Seba hopes to merge the two into one account and make it easy. Investors in this promising venture include the likes of Black River Asset Management AG and Summer Capital.
Overall, the money raised from investors will cover investor protections, but the number of company employees is expected to double by the end of 2019. Expansions to Singapore and other parts of Europe are expected at a time still undetermined.
Seba is based in Switzerland, but lucky for them that the country has some of the most lax crypto-related laws anywhere. It’s well known for its approachable stance towards blockchain technology generally. For example, the small European nation ranked second in how much money was generated in ICOs last year.
The finance direct of Zug made headlines last year for trying out a blockchain-based voting test. Certain regulations regarding crypto are expected to be stripped net year which would “essentially let crypto firms work with banks in the same manner a ‘traditional’ company could.”
Even some higher-up officials in Switzerland’s government has spoken positively of cryptocurrencies. For example, the Finance Minister recently spoke of a collaboration with Israeli officials on blockchain regulations and other fintech technologies.
Seba still has to receive its banking license, but the creation of crypto-fiat bank accounts is a fundamentally good idea. It would work towards integrating the two together and making them work in tandem with each other. The entire process must be streamlined and must be made as simple as it is today to have a regular bank account.