By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss startup SEBA Crypto AG has raised 100
million Swiss francs ($103 million) to build a bank offering
cryptocurrency services to companies and investors while
extending traditional banking services to firms in the new
Headed by former UBS managers Guido Buehler as chief executive
and Andreas Amschwand as chairman, the group said on Thursday it
is seeking a banking and securities dealer license to manage
cryptocurrency trading and investments for banks and qualified
It also aims to provide corporate financing, including advising
on initial coin offerings, and other cryptocurrency and banking
services to traditional corporate clients and cryptocurrency
“SEBA wants to bridge the gap between traditional banking and the
new world of crypto,” Buehler said.
“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.”
The Zug-based group is seeking a license from Swiss financial
market supervisor FINMA. FINMA confirmed that it is in contact
with SEBA on the matter.
More than 500 blockchain and cryptocurrency startups have settled
around Zug and Zurich. But as the industry has grown, it has
faced challenges integrating into the country’s traditional
Banks have found promise in the blockchain technology
underpinning cryptocurrencies but have been hesitant to commingle
with an industry in which due diligence checks were rarely
performed during fundraisers a year ago and for which the
long-term value still remains to be tested.
Cryptocurrency groups have thus faced difficulty gaining access
to banking services.
“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,” Amschwand said.
“This makes Switzerland the ideal place to launch a new financial
Investors include Swiss-based BlackRiver Asset Management and
Hong Kong-based Summer Capital, among other backers from
Switzerland, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong.
It aims to open branch locations in major financial hubs,
beginning with Zurich in 2019, as well as digital services.
(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)