The venerable Swiss private banking firm of Bordier & Cie has become the latest bank to jump into the cryptocurrency business, offering its customers a variety of trading and custody services.
According to a Feb. 24 announcement, Bordier & Cie customers can now buy, hold and trade cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Tezos (XTZ).
The new digital assets offerings come courtesy of a partnership with digital asset bank Sygnum, which provided the technical infrastructure, as well as compliance as a service, sales education, research, and access to a wide variety of digital asset products.
Evrard Bordier, a fifth-generation managing partner of the 177-year-old bank, said the reason it is integrating crypto asset trading into its services is simple:
“We have seen increasing demand from our clients to diversify into alternative asset classes such as digital assets. By partnering with Sygnum Bank, we are providing our clients with a one-stop, integrated solution while empowering them to invest in this new, high growth asset class with complete trust.”
Furthermore, the partnership also opens the door for Bordier & Cie to offer more sophisticated digital asset products, options trading, and the ability to invest in exotic asset classes via tokenization in the future. The bank added that it recognizes that cryptocurrencies feature “high-growth and low-correlation to traditional assets” which makes them good for diversification, as well as a hedge against inflation, adding:
“Bitcoin, in particular, which many see as the new ‘digital gold’ due to its ability to hedge against inflationary pressure, has seen strong institutional adoption as an alternative investment.”
The bank will expand its offerings “as clients become more at ease with the simplicity of the new service,” Bordier & Cie said. The full integration of Sygnum’s systems took under 60 days to allow the bank’s customers full access to digital assets.
Switzerland has long been a leader in embracing the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries, attracting more than 900 companies, including the Facebook-founded Diem Association, formerly Libra.
Many of these firms have clustered in the canton of Zug, near Zurich, which is known as Crypto Valley. And earlier this month, Zug announced that it had entered into a partnership with crypto financial services provider Bitcoin Suisse that has allowed it to accept tax payments in cryptocurrencies.
Switzerland’s government is an active participant as well, with its Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA, having become an internationally respected regulator.
On Feb. 1, the first phase of a new “blockchain law” went into effect, amending company law to deal with issues ranging from securities trading to bankruptcy. A second phase, set to begin in August, covers financial market infrastructure. Passed last fall, it is designed to provide a firm legal foundation for trading in digital assets, regulating exchanges, and complying with anti-money laundering (AML) requirements, according to local news site Swissinfo.