Julius Baer will get in crypto banking with SEBA partnership

ZURICH (Reuters) – Julius Baer plans to provide access to the digital assets through a partnership with the Swiss start-up SEBA Crypto in the latest move in cryptocurrencies by a Swiss private bank.

The sign is on the Swiss bank Julius Baer is seen at a branch office in Lucerne, Switzerland, November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The collaboration, which follows a similar movement of the smaller rival Falcon Private Bank, will offer customers the ability of Julius Baer, Switzerland’s third-largest listed bank, save, trade and invest in digital assets, the two companies said on Tuesday.

Banks see promise in the blockchain technology underpinning cryptocurrencies, but do not rush into an industry that has faced regulatory scrutiny and extreme price fluctuations.

Falcon is permitted for private and institutional clients to invest in bitcoin, ether, and litecoin, and has gradually expanded its offerings since a partnership with Bitcoin Suisse in 2017.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase this month said it would launch its own digital currency.

“We are confident that digital assets is a legitimate sustainable asset class from an investor’s portfolio,” Julius Baer markets head Peter Gerlach said in a statement.

SHEBA is looking for a license from the swiss financial market supervisor for the building of a bank that cryptocurrency services as an extension of traditional banking services to companies in the new industry.

The closed a 100 million Swiss franc ($100 million) funding round in September, and is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency via a first currency supply in the third quarter of this year. The goal is to go live during the second quarter of this year.

SEBA’s partnership with Julius Baer, which also has a minority investment in the startup last year, will enter into force when it is a bank and securities dealer license.

Prior to this, the companies could not indicate which digital assets and services would be offered to Julius Baer for the clients, a spokeswoman for the bank said.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Alexander Smith

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