Swiss Startup SEBA Raises Over $100 Million to Launch Cryptocurrency Bank

Swiss startup SEBA Crypto AG has raised 100 million Swiss francs (~$103 million) to launch a bank specializing in offering cryptocurrency services to companies and investors, Reuters reports. The newly formed group, headed by former UBS managers Guido Buehler and Andreas Amschwan, stated that it is seeking a banking and securities dealer license to manage cryptocurrency trading and investments for banks and qualified investors.

“SEBA wants to bridge the gap between traditional banking and the new world of crypto,” said Buehler, now acting as chief executive of SEBA. “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 also plans to provide corporate financing options, including advisory protocols on initial coin offerings (ICOs), in addition to other cryptocurrency and traditional banking services typically provided to corporate clients. Based out of Zug, Switzerland, SEBA is seeking licensing from Swiss financial market supervisor FINMA. Zug continues to be a developing hub for crypto and blockchain startups, now home to over 500 companies.

Reuters reports that despite promising support to cryptocurrency groups, banks in the region have hesitated to provide necessary banking services to support growth in the developing industry. Reasons given by banks for their lack of support largely center around an absence of due diligence checks amid cryptocurrency startup fundraising and uncertain projections for the long-term viability of the developing market. SEBA, however, seeks to bridge that gap between banks and startups in the cryptospace to support further innovation.

“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 services paradigm.”

In addition to providing digital services, SEBA plans to open branch locations in major financial hubs across Switzerland, beginning with Zurich in 2019. The project has received investor funding from Swiss-based BlackRiver Asset Management and Hong Kong-based Summer Capital, in addition to numerous other backers from Switzerland, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong.

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