A financial services company based in Zug, Switzerland has raised roughly $104 million (100 million CHF) from investors as it looks to create a bank to lets consumers trade fiat for digital currency.
According to Bloomberg, Seba Crypto AG raised the cash from a mixture of private and institutional investors.
One of the people behind the venture said the company has been speaking with the Swiss financial authority known as Finna about submitting an application for a license by the end of October.
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Hopes right now are to have a license secured by mid-2019. The startup is headed by two former UBS managers, Guido Buehler, who serves as CEO, and Andreas Amschwand, who serves as chairman.
Bridging The Gap Between Banking And Crypto
Buehler told Reuters how the goal of the venture is to “bridge the gap between traditional banking and the new world of crypto.”
He noted how Seba would offer a myriad of services, including custody, trading, and virtual currency asset management for private and institutional investors.
Buehler also asserted that Seba, who would be able to offer “bank accounts in fiat and crypto,” would help fill a “critical missing element of the currency ecosystem,” since many banks are not really willing to open accounts for companies involved in the cryptocurrency (or blockchain) spaces.
The vision behind Seba, according to Buehler is to make it possible for people to log onto online banking serves to “have access to crypto and fiat within one account.” Investors in the venture include entitles like Black River Asset Management AG and Summer Capital, who stand alongside a number of local and global backers.
Buehler says some of the funds will go towards actually building the company, while others will be allocated towards capitalizing in order to provide investor protection. Overall, he expects to double the number of company employees by the tail end of 2019, while also eventually expanding out to Singapore and other parts of Europe at an undetermined time.
Switzerland’s Open Minded Stance Towards The Industry
Switzerland has been well-known for their open and approachable stance towards digital currencies and blockchain. Last year, the small European nation ranked second (behind the USA) in money generated from ICOs, according to the Financial Times.
The finance director of the canton of Zug, which has made headlines for being the home of a blockchain-based voting test, said in July that certain regulations would be stripped away at the end of the year. These would essentially let crypto firms work with banks in the same manner a ‘traditional’ company could.
Just a few days ago, an agreement between Switzerland’s Finance Minister and Israeli officials to collaborate on blockchain regulations and other initiatives related to financial technology.