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Swiss Banking May Drastically Change As The State-Run Bank Considers Launching Crypto-Related Products To Meet The Increasing Demand

The eight-largest Swiss commercial bank, Basler Kantonalbank (BKB) revealed its plans to add support for crypto trading and custody as of 2021. Founded in 1899, Basler Kantonalbank, also called Basel Cantonal Bank, offers retail, corporate and private banking services. It has total assets of approximately $49 billion.

This is the first time a government-owned bank is stepping into the cryptocurrency domain. The news means users will have the chance to trade and hold cryptocurrencies using the services, provided by the BKB bank. The new system will grant access to the trading and custody functionalities for all BKB users.

BKB will add the custody and trading support through its Bank Cler subsidiary. Interestingly, Bank Cler is the first local bank in Switzerland to offer such support. Until now, the crypto sector in Switzerland was in the hands of crypto banks Seba, Sygnum, Sygnum, Julius Baer, Falcon and Maerki Baumann.

Bank Cler’s owner, BKB, may also add crypto features later on. Natalie Waltmann, Bank Cler’s spokesperson, further explained that “Bank Cler is the digital competence center of our company, to which parent BKB also belongs. Cryptocurrencies are also an issue for us“.

BKB officials also commented on the news. However, there is still no information about the crypto assets which BKB and Bank Cler are going to support, as well as a definitive service rollout date.

“In the BKB Group, we are working to offer our clients a solution for the trading and deposit of selected cryptocurrencies. As an established regional (Basler Kantonalbank) and indeed national (Bank Cler) banking group, we wish to give our clients secure access to these new financial products.”, BKB officials added.

Bank Cler also announced that crypto expert Alain Kunz would fill up their team as Head of digital assets.

Switzerland, known to be one of the financial safe havens, became famous as one of the world’s “Crypto Valleys”, thanks to the crypto-friendly regulatory framework in the canton of Zug. The relationship between the crypto domain and traditional banking was enhanced in 2018 when Swiss SIX Exchange-listed Hypothekarbank Lenzburg managed to become the first bank to offer corporate accounts for blockchain crypto-related businesses. Shortly after Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, Maerki Baumann became the second Swiss bank to accept crypto assets.

Meanwhile, banking giants also made a profit from the crypto realm, as the top-5 Swiss bank - Julius Baer, published a report, stating that during the first half of 2020 the bank’s net profit increased with 34%. The net profit increase coincides with Julius Baer Group’s decision to offer custodial services for Bitcoin, which dates back from January 2020.

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