BBVA throws open bitcoin (BTC) trading for its private banking clients in Switzerland

Karthik Subramanian

BBVA, one of the major banks in Spain with a fully owned franchise in Switzerland, has announced that bitcoin trading and storage would be available for its private banking clients in Switzerland.

This has been launched after a period of 6 months of testing with a selected group of users and after studying the system reliability and performance and getting feedback from the users.

Alfonso Gómez, CEO of BBVA Switzerland, says: “This gradual roll-out has allowed BBVA Switzerland to test the service’s operations, strengthen security and, above all, detect that there is a significant desire among investors for crypto-assets or digital assets as a way of diversifying their portfolios, despite their volatility and high risk.”

The bank also announced that this new service would be launched on June 21 and would include trading and custody services and this would be integrated into the existing banking platform so that the users would be able to view their holdings and their performances just like how they can see the other asset classes. The bank also said that this service would begin with bitcoin and it would be gradually expanded into other instruments in due course of time.

While different countries grapple with the way to best deal with cryptocurrencies, with China and the US regulators looking to tighten their control, Switzerland is one of the few countries that have well-defined laws for dealing with cryptos and these can be expected to be stable in the future as well. This is the reason why these services have been launched in this country, the bank said. It also added that the extension of this service to other countries would depend on the demand and also on the regulation in those countries along with how the market matures in the future.

Recently we saw Vaneck establish its Bitcoin and Ethereum ETPs in Switzerland showing the way for other financial firms as well. Though bitcoin presents as a risky asset at this point, we are seeing increasing interest from retail and institutional clients over the past few months and even the drop in their prices do not seem to have dampened the enthusiasm. With Switzerland providing a stable environment for financial firms dealing with crypto, it is only a matter of time before we see more and more banks and other companies looking to launch various asset products revolving around bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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