Swiss FINMA Awards Licenses to Two Crypto Banks; Releases Blockchain Payment Guidance

Cryptocurrency-focused banks SEBA Crypto and Sygnum can now offer bank-related services to their customers in Switzerland as the Swiss financial watchdog, Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has reportedly given them a go-ahead.

Both firms announced the news on Monday that they had been granted banking and securities dealers’ licenses. The FINMA noted that this is the first time it has issued such licenses to “pure-play blockchain service providers.” The approval permits SEBA Crypto and Sygnum to provide their services to institutional and professional customers.

The regulators also released the new regulation for blockchain-based payment today.  According to the guidance, existing anti-money laundering (AML) laws are still applicable to blockchain payments.

The watchdog clarified that FINMA supervised companies are only allowed to carry out crypto-related transactions with verified customers while adding that the “inherent anonymity of blockchain technology presents increased risks.”

Based in Zug, SEBA has revealed that once it fulfills all of FINMA’s criteria, it will be operational in October 2019. The company plans to add corporate and asset management services to its new asset class. According to Andreas Amschwand, Chairman of the Board of SEBA, the acquisition of the license is a “milestone for the entire digital asset market ecosystem.”

On the other hand, Sygnum, which has its headquarter in Zurich, has plans to list and trade tokenized assets. The company has teamed up with Swisscom, a German stock exchange and telecoms operator to list crypto securities on a decentralized platform.

In a statement, Manuel Krieger, co-founder, and CEO of Sygnum reveals that the company’s “plans for corporates include the ability to raise new capital by producing asset tokens based on existing financial assets, thereby lowering capital raising costs and improving liquidity for issuers and investors.” 

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