BBVA launches bitcoin service for clients in Switzerland

The service will allow clients based in Switzerland to invest in bitcoin

Spanish bank BBVA has announced the launch of a new cryptocurrency trading and custody service for its private banking clients in Switzerland.

The bank said the service, which will start from 21 June, will enable its Swiss clients to invest in bitcoin through a digital wallet that is integrated into their investment portfolio.

BBVA clients will now be able to have different currencies, cryptoassets (bitcoin) and traditional financial assets such as stocks, bonds, funds and exchange-trade funds (ETFs) in the same portfolio. Clients will also be able to convert their Swiss francs, euros and dollars into bitcoin, and vice versa.

Over the coming months, BBVA said it aims to “improve and expand” its cryptocurrencies offering, but will not offer advice on these types of investments.

Clear Swiss regulation

BBVA said the reason why the service will only be available to clients in Switzerland is due to that country's clear cryptocurrency regulations and widespread adoption of digital assets.

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"Its extension to new countries or other types of customers will depend on whether the markets meet the appropriate conditions in terms of maturity, demand and regulation," said BBVA.

BBVA sees Switzerland as having comprehensive rules around digital assets, set out by the country’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

In 2019, for the first time, FINMA has issued banking and securities dealers’ licences to two pure-play blockchain service providers. The companies were SEBA Crypto and Sygnum, registered in Zug and Zurich respectively, which offer services for institutional and professional customers.

BBVA Switzerland is a member of Spain’s BBVA Banking Group with a focus on offering private banking, advisory services, wealth planning and assets management to high net-worth individuals.

Further reading: NatWest customers warned of crypto scams

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