Značka: Switzerland

'The risks outweigh the benefits' of a Swiss CBDC, says SNB governing board member

Andréa Maechler, a member of the governing board for the Swiss National Bank, or SNB, has reportedly altered her position on the central bank issuing a digital franc. According to a Tuesday report from Reuters journalist John Revill, Maechler said officials at the country’s central bank “believe the risks outweigh the benefits” when it comes to CBDCs. The governing board member said having the general public use a digital franc in day-to-day transactions would likely not help promote financial inclusion in Switzerland, where almost all the working population already have access to bank accounts.”This does not mean the SNB is not interested in CBDC, but our focus is to look at the role that wholesale CBDCs could play,” said Maechler, adding the central bank needed to consider privacy concerns and the potential for the digital currency to be used for illicit transactions.The governing board member’s statement comes following the SNB announcing it had integrated a wholesale CBDC into the banking systems of five commercial banks in Switzerland. At the time, Maechler seemed to encourage the rollout, saying “central banks need to stay on top of technological change“ in an effort to ensure monetary and financial stability.Testing the introduction of a wholesale CBDC was part of the second phase of Project Helvetia, an initiative aimed at preparing central banks for distributed ledger technology-based tokenized financial assets. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the SNB integrated the wholesale CBDC into the existing systems and processes of Citi, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg and UBS.Related: Bitcoin briefly flippens Swiss franc after rally to new ATHSwitzerland was also a testing ground for many crypto projects and products in 2021. In September, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority approved one of the first crypto funds to operate in the country, the Crypto Market Index Fund. The SIX Swiss Exchange currently lists several crypto exchanged-traded products in addition to its own plans to launch a digital asset marketplace and central securities depository.

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Institutional investment will boost Bitcoin to $75,000, says SEBA CEO

The CEO of Swiss-based financial institution SEBA Bank shared his predictions for Bitcoin in 2022. A boon for BTC bulls, Guido Buehler was optimistic about institutional adoption and a price increase to $75,000 per coin.He explained in an interview that, at SEBA, asset pools are looking for the right time to invest. However, they need the right counterparties and the necessary regulation in order to deploy capital. When pressed on whether Bitcoin (BTC) would hit new highs this year, Buehler thinks it’s possible, “the question is always time.” He noted that with BTC dominance bottoming out at 40%, it’s a pivotal moment for investors looking for a directional play. The interview took place at the Crypto Finance Conference in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where “sophisticated” players across the crypto space came together to discuss potential business deals. The reasons behind price increases clash with the CEO of Ledger’s musings. At the same conference, Pascal Gauthier agrees on BTC hitting new highs but it’ll be retail leading the charge. Related: Fidelity exec says Bitcoin is ‘technically oversold,’ making $40K a ‘pivotal support’SEBA bank is building a reputation as a crypto-friendly banking institution. The bank recently completed a Series C funding round of 110 million Swiss francs ($119 million) in which FTX and Alameda Research were investors. In October last year, the bank said that customers would soon be able to earn yields on their crypto holdings. A crypto enthusiast himself, in Buehler’s words, the technology behind Bitcoin will “redefine finance.”

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Owner of Russian bank Tinkoff acquires Swiss digital asset firm

TCS Group, the owner of the major private Russian bank Tinkoff, is gaining exposure to digital assets.The firm has invested in Swiss digital asset service provider Aximetria, which is set to become the company’s first major crypto-related outfit, local news agency The Bell reported Wednesday.Citing data from Aximetria, the report suggests that TCS purchased 4,449 Aximetria shares worth 100 Swiss francs ($108) per share. Given that Aximetria’s total share capital was about 535,000 francs ($578,000), the publication reported TCS’ stake to be around 83.2%.A spokesperson for Tinkoff confirmed the news to Cointelegraph, stating that Aximetria will be “part of the international expansion of Tinkoff Group in compliance with all the requirements of the jurisdictions of international presence.”The representative emphasized that Aximetria is “not a crypto exchange” but rather a “financial service in the digital asset industry.”At the time of writing, Aximetria’s main page includes details on the firm being part of TCS. Aximetria lets users open a “Swiss crypto account” with free deposits and withdrawals in euros or U.S. dollars. The platform says it targets clients worldwide.Source: AximetriaAmid skyrocketing demand for crypto investments, Tinkoff has been struggling to offer crypto investment services in Russia as the Bank of Russia reportedly stopped the company from launching its own suite of related services. This led to a situation where Russia has no single legal company that is based in the country and offers crypto investment.The central bank is known for its hostility to the crypto industry and Bitcoin (BTC). However, it reportedly wants to allow people to invest in crypto investment using foreign platforms.Related: Russia’s largest bank struggles to register its digital asset platformDespite the ongoing harsh stance of local regulators, Russia’s largest bank, Sber, launched a crypto exchange-traded fund in December, tracking major crypto investment firms and exchanges like Coinbase and Galaxy Digital. Formerly known as Sberbank, the state-backed firm was previously planning to launch a crypto exchange business under its Sberbank Switzerland subsidiary back in 2018.

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Seba Bank raises $119M in Series C funding

Seba Bank, a Swiss-based digital assets banking platform regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, announced on Wednesday that it had completed a successful Series C funding round of 110 million Swiss franc, or $119 million U.S. dollars. Notable investors in the round included cryptocurrency exchange FTX, quantitative digital currency trading firm Alameda Research, decentralized finance asset management firm DeFi Technologies, and venture capital entities such as Altive, Ordway Selections and Summer Capital.The bank said it plans to use the funds to fuel international growth and drive demand from institutional investors in the digital assets industry. Seba has been at the forefront of crypto innovation in Switzerland. In September 2021, the firm was granted the first Swiss digital asset custody license. One month later, it launched a program for users to earn yields on their DOT, XTZ and ADA holdings. In December 2021, the bank launched its own regulated gold token exchangeable with physical gold on-demand, which could potentially be used as a gold-standard digital currency. Seba Bank became fully operational to professional investors and institutional clients in 2019.Jonathan Ordway Fackelmayer, Chairman of Ordway Selections, issued the following statement regarding the development: “We are delighted to be part of the lead-investor consortium alongside Altive and Summer Capital. They both hold a deep knowledge of financial services and technology applications. Our consortium believes SEBA Bank is uniquely positioned to respond to the needs of the ever-growing and demanding pool of cryptocurrency investors worldwide.”

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Hong Kong real estate giant leads $90M raise for crypto bank Sygnum

Sun Hung Kai, one of the largest property developers in Hong Kong, continues betting on the cryptocurrency industry by investing in Swiss crypto outfit Sygnum.Sygnum officially announced Thursday that it closed a $90 million Series B round led by Sun Hung Kai, a real estate giant and alternative investment firm in Hong Kong.According to Sun Hung Kai’s group executive chairman Lee Seng Huang, the company has a strategic vision to expand its fund management offerings into digital assets.“Amidst growing institutional demand and regulatory oversight of this sector, Sygnum, with its track record as a fully-regulated digital asset bank and asset manager, is the ideal partner for us to co-develop digital asset focused products together and to cater to the strong demand for digital asset solutions and services in Asia, Europe and beyond,” he said.The funding round brings Sygnum’s post-money valuation to $800 million, marking a tenfold surge in consolidated revenues from 2021.The raised capital aims to help the Swiss company expand around the world, create new products in collaboration with strategic investors as well as accelerate the development of new institutional-grade Web 3.0 offerings like decentralized finance pools and staking services, as well as additional partnerships with blockchain ecosystems like the Dfinity Foundation.Related: PwC Hong Kong purchases land plot in The SandboxOther big investors in the round included nonfungible token (NFT) companies like Animoca Brands and Wemade, Canadian investment firm Meta Investments, as well as existing strategic investors such as SBI Holdings and Siam Commercial Bank’s digital investment arm, SCB 10X.Sun Hung Kai has been increasingly moving into the crypto and blockchain industry recently, expressing particular interest in the metaverse and NFTs. On Wednesday, Sun Hung Kai became a major partner of the Sandbox, a major decentralized gaming virtual world and subsidiary of Animoca Brands.

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Ferrari’s new deal with blockchain firm Velas hints at NFTs

Italian luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari is moving into the blockchain industry by inking a partnership with Swiss blockchain startup Velas Network.Ferrari officially announced Monday that it had signed a multi-year agreement with Velas to jointly issue “exclusive digital content” for the Scuderia’s fans. Velas will also be the main sponsor for Ferrari Esports Series, the online series competing in the F1 Esports Series, the official digital championship including all teams participating in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.The announcement describes Velas as a major company in the industry of digital assets and blockchain, emphasizing the startup’s focus on nonfungible tokens (NFT):“A global player in the blockchain and NFT sector, Velas has distinguished itself through the performance and innovation of its services and its technological leadership, characteristics that unite it with the Maranello team.”Scuderia Ferrari general manager Mattia Binotto noted that the company chose Velas as one of its premium partners, as the companies share values such as innovation and performance of technologically advanced products and services.Farkhad Shagulyamov, a co-founder and newly appointed CEO of Velas, said that it was natural for Velas to partner with “another icon of excellence, which is Ferrari.” “Velas has introduced an innovative variety of pioneering technology into the blockchain and associated products, which will now be showcased at the pinnacle of motorsport,” he noted.The next chapter is coming Today, Velas officially partnered with Scuderia Ferrari. Thanks to both the @ScuderiaFerrari and @VelasBlockchain teams for such fantastic work you have done together.Don’t miss our updates to know more pic.twitter.com/X6NuVkKCkR— Farkhad S (@SFarkhad) December 27, 2021Ferrari and Velas did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.Related: Global search interest for ‘NFT’ surpasses ‘crypto’ for the first time everVelas is an open-source blockchain network working to provide a mix of the best features of centralized and decentralized tools. As of October, the firm allocated $100 million to startups building on top of the Velas blockchain, which was a significant surge from its initial pledge of $5 million.Velas (VLX), the native token of the Velas blockchain, has edged up significantly recently. Trading at $0.346, the token is up around 4% over the past 24 hours at the time of writing, according to data from CoinGecko. VLX is up more than 70% over the past seven days.

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Central Banks of France and Switzerland announce successful trial of digital Euro, Swiss Franc

On Wednesday, the Banque de France (BdF), the BIS Innovation Hub (BISIH), and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced the success of a pilot run of a wholesale central bank digital currency (wCBDC), titled Project Jura. The project aimed to investigate cross‑border settlement with euro and Swiss franc wCBDCs, and launched on a third‑party distributed ledger technology platform.The experimental technology explored in Project Jura first consisted of a decentralized peer‑to‑peer network of computer nodes (Corda) to validate transactions while simultaneously ensuring that all legal, regulatory, and business rules of governing nations are satisfied. Then, there was the tokenization of the aforementioned fiat currencies and the Negotiable European Commercial Paper, a short-term maturity (one year or less) debt instrument denominated in euros. Finally, Project Jura looked into infrastructure networks enabling real‑time gross settlement of transactions, bond digitization, and a digital assets registry.Although the trial was successful, it does not guarantee the issuance of a wCBDC by Swiss, French, or European Union authorities. The report concluded that, “wCBDCs could be incorporated into novel settlement arrangements that could change the structure and functioning of capital markets, money markets and foreign exchange markets,” saying that:”Broadening the use of central bank money through wider access or increased cross‑border settlement could catalyse these changes, as could deeper integration of currencies with other digital assets and securities.”Experimental Architecture of Digital EUR/CHF | Source: BISIH

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SBI announces crypto joint venture with Swiss digital exchange SIX

SBI Digital Asset Holdings, a fully owned subsidiary of Japanese banking giant SBI Holdings, announced a joint crypto venture with Switzerland’s SIX digital exchange (SDX). The joint venture would be set up in Singapore through a crypto issuance company and aims to become a regional liquidity hub for institutions. SBI Holdings CEO Yoshitaka Kitao said:“This is an important step in building the necessary global infrastructure for widespread institutional adoption of digital assets. Together with SDX‘s strength in Switzerland and our planned digital exchange in Osaka, this venture will establish a powerful institutional corridor between Europe and Asia.”The partnership between SBI and SIX banks on growing crypto demand in the Asia-Pacific region and will cater its services to regulated institutions. The venture is expected to formalize its operations by the end of 2021 and start offering its services by early 2022 following regulatory clearance from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.The new undertaking will offer a range of digital asset products and services in the form of tokenized securities such as digital bonds, digital equities and digital securitized loans.SIX did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.Related: SBI doubled crypto business profits in past fiscal year.SDX chairman called SBI a natural partner for the joint venture given their expertise in the institutional digital asset market and dominance in Asia. Singapore has grown to become a global crypto hub over the past few years. Major crypto exchanges like Binance, FTX, Coinbase, Huobi, and several others have found a home in the country amid regulatory uncertainty around the globe.

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Bitcoin Capital AG launches two crypto ETPs on SIX Swiss Exchange

Bitcoin Capital AG released two new exchange-traded products on the SIX Swiss Exchange: the FiCAS Active Bitcoin ETP (BTCB) and FiCAS Active Ethereum ETP (ETHB), which are actively managed by FICAS AG.Institutional investo, professional and private investors in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the European Union (excluding Hungary) can now invest in the new offerings via their bank or broker just as they would with other listed financial assets such as equities or bonds.”Our purpose is to grant investors safe and easy access to digital assets and are convinced that crypto assets will soon be part of the diversification strategy of many investment portfolios,” says Dr. Luca Schenk, chairman of Bitcoin Capital AG. “The two new products with the most relevant cryptocurrencies as underlying may, through their active management, improve the overall portfolio risk by reducing underlying volatility.”Related: Swiss SIX Exchange Lists Actively Managed Bitcoin ETPThe expansion of Bitcoin Capital AG’s new services is intended to appeal to a wider range of investors and comes at a time when interest in cryptocurrencies is growing. The price of Bitcoin (BTC) has risen to all-time highs recently, reaching $68,789.63, while Ether (ETH) is seeing greater attention as well.Bitcoin Capital AG is a family office and FiCAS AG subsidiary based in Zug, Switzerland. In July, Bitcoin Capital AG introduced the actively managed Bitcoin ETP “Bitcoin Capital Active ETP” on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Related: Exchange-traded products abound, but crypto is still waiting for an ETFAn ETP is a derivative security that trades based on investment instruments such as a commodity, currency, share price or interest rate, as opposed to crypto ETFs, which are 100% backed by the assets they are tracking.Since the world’s first crypto ETP was introduced on the Swiss SIX Exchange in late 2018, several crypto ETPs have been developed. Amun’s Crypto Basket ETP (HODL), which tracks five major cryptos, was first listed in 2018. In Feb 2021, the exchange added a Polkadot ETP.

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