A Swiss financial services company headed by former UBS managers Guido Buehler and Andreas Amschwand, has raised $104 million from domestic and foreign institutional and private investors in a bid to establish a regulated cryptocurrency bank in Switzerland.
Called SEBA Crypto AG, the company is in the process of applying for a banking and securities dealer license from FINMA, the Swiss financial regulator. If granted, SEBA said it will offer secure storage and custodial services, trading and liquidity management, crypto corporate finance advisory and crypto asset and investment management services. According to Reuters, FINMA confirmed that it is in contact with SEBA on the matter.
“In Switzerland we have commitment from various authorities to establish a comprehensive regulatory environment for the development of blockchain technology and the sustainable, stable growth of crypto assets. This makes Switzerland the ideal place to launch a new financial services paradigm. I’m excited to be part of a team of experts helping to usher in the crypto economy.” Amschwand, designated Chairman of SEBA and formerly UBS Global Head of Foreign Exchange and Money Market said in a statement.
BlackRiver Asset Management AG and Summer Capital are among the investors backing SEBA.
“The investment in SEBA is predicated on deep analysis of the velocity of the cryptographic asset market - if adoption, use and utility continue to gain traction at the same rate; crypto will become a legitimate, sound asset class and therefore hold a requisite allocation in investors’ portfolios” Guy Schwarzenbach, CEO at Swiss-based BlackRiver Asset Management AG, investor and designated Board Member of SEBA said.
Jack Chung, Managing Director of Hong Kong-based Summer Capital commented: “We see our investment in SEBA as leveraging the known ties between Switzerland and Asia, marrying the deep heritage in financial services and security standards of Switzerland, with the impressive growth and innovation that is powering Asia.”
“A fundamental aspect of our mission is education, we want to promote the potential blockchain holds for global economic reform and financial inclusion. With safety, transparency and performance as core values, our ambition is to become a market leader in the convergence of traditional finance with the crypto economy.” Bühler, CEO of SEBA, said.
Zug, home of the Crypto Valley Association
SEBA is based in the lakeside town of Zug. Dubbed as “crypto valley” the town with a population short of 30.000 is home to more than 500 blockchain startups. This year, Zug successfully completed its first test of a local blockchain-based voting system and in 2017, it announced that it’s launching a decentralized ethereum-based digital ID system for citizens. Last year it also became the second largest ICO market. In 2016, Zug became the first city in the world to accept bitcoin payments for municipal services.
Furthermore, Zug is the home of the Crypto Valley Association (CVA) – an independent, government-supported association established to take full advantage of Switzerland’s strengths to build the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technologies ecosystem. The founding members included Bitcoin Suisse, Bussmann Advisory, iprotus, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Luxoft, Monetas, and Thomson Reuters.
SEBA employs 17 people and aims to open branch locations in major financial hubs, beginning with Zurich in 2019.