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Switzerland’s St. Galler Kantonalbank Expands into Cryptocurrency Services in Partnership with SEBA Bank




St. Galler Kantonalbank (SGKB), Switzerland’s fifth-largest cantonal bank and a foundational pillar of the Swiss banking scene since 1868, has officially announced the integration of cryptocurrency services. This move allows SGKB’s clientele to trade and custody of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Facilitating this expansion is a strategic partnership with SEBA Bank, a FINMA-regulated bank specializing in digital assets.

Main Highlights:

  • SGKB’s recent venture marks its first entry into the digital asset domain.
  • The partnership with SEBA Bank aims to enable SGKB clients to seamlessly integrate cryptocurrencies into their existing investment portfolios.
  • The crypto services were initially launched to a select group of SGKB clients.
  • There are plans to further expand the digital asset offerings based on client demand.

SEBA Bank: A Strong Partner in the Digital Asset Space

SEBA Bank, a global frontrunner in cryptocurrency-focused services, has been a prominent player since it received its banking license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority in 2019. Not only does the bank provide digital asset brokerage and custody services, but it also offers services for managing, investing, and storing a diverse array of assets, including cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Christian Bieri, SEBA Bank’s Head of B2B and Custody Solutions, noted the broader trend towards inclusive cryptocurrency services, emphasizing that this partnership represents a significant step in servicing not just high-net-worth clients but also retail banking customers.

SEBA Bank’s digital asset expertise is already benefiting other banks. They provide services to major private and retail banks, such as LGT Bank Liechtenstein and Julius Baer Bank.

Switzerland’s Rapidly Evolving Crypto Ecosystem

The move by SGKB is a testament to the growing trend of Swiss banks embracing the digital asset revolution. As of September 2023, several local banks, including Dukascopy Bank, have introduced crypto services, enriching the Swiss crypto ecosystem. The bank’s chief brokerage officer expressed confidence that offering crypto-related services through regulated banks adds immense value to the entire cryptocurrency industry.

Falk Kohlmann, Head of Market Services at SGKB, accentuated the vision behind offering these services. He stated, “We are pleased to offer access to digital assets and the digital economy to a select group of clients. By collaborating with SEBA Bank, we have forged an uncomplicated entry point, enabling us to evolve in line with our clients’ needs.”

The Broader Impact on Swiss Banking

The venture of SGKB into the realm of cryptocurrency isn’t just an isolated development; it indicates a broader shift in Swiss banking culture. As one of the foremost cantonal banks in the country, SGKB’s actions often set the tone for other financial institutions, large and small.

Pressure on Traditional Banking

The incorporation of digital asset services by such a prominent institution underscores the increasing recognition of cryptocurrency’s potential. This move is bound to exert additional pressure on other Swiss banks, compelling them to integrate crypto services or risk being left behind in a rapidly evolving financial landscape.

The Swiss Clientele’s Perspective

For Swiss bank customers, these developments are encouraging. The ability to manage both traditional and digital assets through familiar banking interfaces minimizes friction and learning curves, fostering a smoother transition into the world of cryptocurrencies. Moreover, the secure custody solutions offered by institutions like SEBA Bank instill greater confidence among clients, ensuring the safety of their investments.

Future of Crypto in Swiss Banking

  • SGKB’s crypto offerings currently cover Bitcoin and Ethereum, but there are provisions to extend these services based on client preferences.
  • SEBA Bank supports a wide spectrum of digital assets and ensures a safe custody environment with its secure “cold storage” solutions.
  • SGKB clients can manage their cryptocurrency portfolios alongside traditional assets via existing banking interfaces, making the integration seamless.

As SGKB pioneers forward with its innovative digital asset services, it not only transforms the Swiss banking landscape but also sets a benchmark for other financial institutions in the region. This evolution is poised to compel other Swiss banks to define their stance in the burgeoning crypto sector. For more insights into the Swiss cryptocurrency ecosystem, visit CVJ.CH.

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