The Swiss financial regulator has awarded banking and securities dealer licences to two new “crypto banks”. SEBA and Sygnum have been cleared to operate, a major milestone for the fledging industry.
At the same time, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) issued rules on how to apply anti-money laundering regulations to the banks “where the inherent anonymity of blockchain technology presents increased risks”.
This restricts the transfer of tokens to people the bank knows. “FINMA-supervised institutions are thus not permitted to receive tokens from customers of other institutions or to send tokens to such customers. This practice applies as long as information about the sender and recipient cannot be transmitted reliably in the respective payment system.”
Zug-based SEBA says it will be operational in October once it fulfils “secondary criteria” demanded by FINMA. It plans to offer corporate and asset management services for the new asset class.
Sygnum, headquartered in Zurich, has teamed up with the German stock exchange, telecoms operator Swisscom and other partners to list and trade tokenised securities on a distributed ledger technology platform.