Switzerland’s SEBA Group raises $103m to launch crypto bank

September 27, 2018
Neil Dennis

Two Swiss bankers have raised SFr100m ($103m) to fund the establishment of what they hope will become the country’s first regulated crypto investment bank.

Swiss bankers to launch cryptocurrency and blockchain bank

SEBA Crypto, was founded by Andreas Amschwand and Guido Buehler – both formerly managers at Swiss banking giant UBS. Amschwand, most recently a director at Swiss private bank Julius Baer, will take the role of chairman, while Buehler is chief executive.

Zug-based bank

The company, based in Switzerland’s “Crypto Valley” Zug canton, said it will apply for a traditional banking and securities-trading licence from Swiss regulator – Finma: the Financial Market Supervisory Authority – and hopes to begin trading as a licenced bank from the middle of next year.

Once up and running, it will offer cryptocurrency trading and investment services, including custody and wealth management services, for financial institutions and private clients. It will also offer corporate financing – including advisory services for initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Niche sector

Switzerland has quickly emerged as one of the key hubs for launching cryptocurrency start ups. The Zug canton, now home to more than 500 cryptocurrency and blockchain firms, has taken a crypto-friendly position on regulation and banking services offered to the industry.

Yet it remains a niche sector, as many traditional banks have been reticent about offering services to crypto start-ups due to concerns over regulations such as know-your-customer (KYC) and rules on anti-money laundering (AML).

Investors in this round of funding included Switzerland’s BlackRiver Asset Management and Summer Capital of Hong Kong.

Post written by Neil Dennis
Neil is a business journalist of some 20 years experience, 16 of those writing, commissioning and editing on the capital markets desk of the Financial Times. He left the FT two years ago to pursue a freelance career, working for FX-MM and Capital.com among others.

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