Switzerland-Based Startup SEBA Raises $103 Million For Crypto Bank

SEBA Crypto AG, a Swiss startup, has raised $103 million towards its plans of creating a bank that will offer cryptocurrency-related services.


SEBA Crypto AG, a Swiss startup, has raised $103 million towards its plans of creating a bank that will offer cryptocurrency-related services.

SEBA capitalizing on regulatory clarity

The Zug-based startup has indicated that it will apply for a license form Switzerland’s financial market regulator FINMA in order to operate as a banking and securities dealer.

FINMA is said to have confirmed that indeed it was in contact with the company regarding the application.

Acquiring the license would give SEBA the go-ahead to offer cryptocurrency trading to its all its customers, including investments tailor-made for banks and other institutional investors.

SEBA has an experienced team of professionals leading its development, including two former UBS bankers – SEBA’S CEO Guido Buehler and current Chairman Andreas Amschwand.

According to Buehler, SEBA has set its sights on becoming the bridge that will provide a seamless link between traditional banking services and the nascent crypto industry.

He added that SEBA would benefit from its reputation within the crypto space as well as its desire to provide the best financial platform for an emerging industry. 

He told Reuters:

“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.”

SEBA takes aim at ICO market

The startup’s goal also includes being able to provide financial services to corporate firms and to be a go-to company for advice on initial coin offerings (ICOs). It will also look to offer other services related to cryptocurrency.

The group’s chairman Amschwand has said that the Swiss regulatory environment was playing a significant role in promoting the crypto industry. He noted that various authorities and agencies had shown a considerable commitment to the digital asset space.

According to him, these efforts have helped establish an enabling environment that is driving the adoption of blockchain technology as well as allowing digital currencies to grow with stability and sustainability.

“This makes Switzerland the ideal place to launch a new financial services paradigm.”

Though the enabling environment is there, with over 500 blockchain-based projects settling Zug and Zurich alone, one challenge that all have faced is the difficulty in accessing banking services from traditional banks.

But the creation of a bank that offers these services to crypto startups will open up the ecosystem for further growth.

As such, SEBA has indicated that it will expand its operations to cover some of the leading financial hubs, with Zurich likely to be the first step in 2019.

The company’s executives have revealed that they have the support of several investors. They include firms such as BlackRiver Asset Management and Hong Kong’s Summer Capital, and other unnamed investors from Malaysia, Singapore, Malaysia, and China as well as Switzerland and Hong Kong

Relaxed Swiss regulations foster crypto growth

SEBA and other blockchain projects will no doubt benefit from an environment in Switzerland that has rapidly become crypto-friendly. Earlier this September, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) sought to prevent a crypto exodus by issuing guidelines that made it possible for crypto startups to access banking services.

The SBA guidelines stipulated that blockchain companies with no links to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are to be treated like any other small or medium-sized company.

The financial regulator remained tough on ICOs, stating that firms are subject to the stringent regulatory oversight, including AML and KYC laws.

In August, the Maerki Baumann private bank began accepting crypto assets from in the form of payments received for services rendered, as well as those earned from crypto mining.

Maerki Baumann noted that they are not ready to provide direct cryptocurrency investments, but will provide access to “experts” for clients interested in crypto investing.

Hypothekarbank Lenzburg and Maerki Baumann became the first and second banks respectively offer crypto-related services. The former allows crypto-related FinTech companies to operate bank accounts, while the latter accepts crypto payments.

However, both have remained constrained by a stifling banking ecosystem, with Hypothekarbank Lenzburg only being able to accept only two companies since June, despite being the only provider of such services in the country.

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