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One Of The Oldest Swiss Banks Drives Into Crypto Era

Eimantas Žemaitis
Last updated: | 1 min read

Another large traditional financial institution is gradually entering the cryptoverse as Julius Baer, the third-largest bank in Switzerland announced a close collaboration with a Swiss-based SEBA Crypto AG (SEBA).

Source: Twitter

As stated in the press release, Julius Baer will use SEBA platform to grant its clients access to digital assets. The partnership will come into effect as soon as SEBA obtains the FINMA (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority) banking and securities dealer license from the local regulator, the bank added without specifying. According to SEBA’s roadmap, its crypto bank is estimated to go live in Q2 2019.

“At Julius Baer, we are convinced that digital assets will become a legitimate sustainable asset class of an investor’s portfolio,” Peter Gerlach, head of markets and board member at Julius Baer said.

The bank, who owns a minority stake in SEBA, plans to extend its service range providing storage, transaction and investment solutions for digital assets.

Following the announcement, SEBA will suggest to its shareholders to elect Gerlach to its Board of Directors.

As reported last September, SEBA raised USD 103 million to build a bank offering cryptocurrency services to companies and investors.

According to the Julius Baer, the startup “is expected to be one of the first start-ups in the crypto space to close the regulatory gap between conventional and digital assets.”

The statement marks the shifting attitude of banks regarding digital assets. Earlier this month, a renown cryptocurrency skeptic Jamie Dimon announced that JPMorgan is going to release their own JP Coin.

Julius Baer also has a history of taking a negative stance on Bitcoin and other permissionless cryptocurrencies. Back in December 2017, it was motivated by regulatory, technological, and economic risks, as well as ICO (Initial Coin Offering) frauds and market manipulation on cryptocurrency exchanges. Despite that, they remained positive on the potential of underlying blockchain technology.

Source: a screenshot of the Julius Baer website

On a related note, the CEO of Julius Baer is Bernhard Hodler, while Baer means “bear” in English, another irony in the ongoing cryptocurrency bear market.
Watch an interview with Guido Bühler, founder and CEO of SEBA, below:
What could Switzerland’s first crypto bank look like?