The gap between banks and the cryptocurrency space has narrowed significantly, which is evidence of a maturing market. Several new banking institutions are undertaking to offer cryptocurrency services, and some of them are even developing their own digital currencies. The latest bank to start offering cryptocurrency services to its customers is the Swiss Basler Kantonalbank (BKB).
With assets under management of more than CHF 27,305 billion ($ 29,622 billion), Basler Kantonalbank is a government banking giant that will offer cryptocurrency trading and trust services next year through its subsidiary Bank Cler.
According to the Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, Basler Kantonalbank will be the first of 24 government banks to offer services related to digital assets.
Natalie Waltmann, the bank’s spokesman, announced that Alain Kunz, former CEO of Tokensuisse, a cryptocurrency brokerage house, will head the digital branch.
Bank Cler, formerly known as Bank Coop, also has its own banking license separate from BKB.
Waltmann concluded that the move takes place at a time when the cryptocurrency market is booming and there is a great demand for new asset classes among the bank’s younger clientele.
The Swiss cryptocurrency market is dominated by banks like Seba and Znakum, while traditional lenders like Falcon and Maerki Baumann are also more open to new tech than the big banks UBS and Credit Suisse.
Growing popularity of cryptocurrencies
Switzerland is one of the fastest growing crypto hotspots on a global level and has a high cryptocurrency adoption rate among the population.
Swiss bank Incore, cooperating with Kraken, one of the largest exchanges in Europe in terms of volume, offers its clients the option of financing cryptocurrency accounts in four major currencies, namely CAD, CHF, EUR and GBP, directly from InCore bank accounts.
At the international level, British banking giant Standard Chartered, along with its Singapore venture division SC Ventures, has also launched cryptocurrency activities to implement crypto custody services for institutional clients.
Alex Mason, head of SC Ventures, noted earlier that the cryptocurrency market is relatively new and a trustworthy trust solution is necessary to encourage adoption. He said:
“We believe digital assets will remain an asset class … We are developing the venture to meet institutional investors’ demands for comprehensive institutional trusteeship of digital assets that meets regulatory standards.”