Business 11 March 2019

Steve Kaaru

Online banking group Swissquote to offer crypto custody services

Online banking services provider Swissquote has announced its plans to launch crypto custody services beginning March 21. The new service follows the successful implementation of a crypto trading platform since mid-2017. The company, based in Gland, Switzerland, made the announcement in its 2018 business year report

Swissquote’s new service will enable its users to transfer cryptos from external wallets to their Swissquote accounts. This service will initially support only Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Ethereum.

“Swissquote will therefore become a secure and technologically fully integrated cryptocurrency trading platform and depositary for private and institutional clients alike,” part of the statement read.

The company has been supporting crypto trading since July 2017. It partnered with Bitstamp exchange to offer BTC support. Later in the year, it added support for XRP, Litecoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash (BCHABC).

Swissquote will rely on technology from fellow Swiss fintech startup, Crypto Storage AG. The startup develops hardware security modules for financial services providers globally. In a statement to a media publication, the startup’s CEO Stijn Vander Straeten explained just how secure their systems are:

“Our HSMs are the same as those built for the Swiss National Bank [the country’s central bank] and that nothing is outsourced or could allow for a backdoor to be built in. Our server racks are stored in a former military bunker in the Swiss Alps which is nuke proof. So, yes, we care about security.”

The decision by Swissquote to offer crypto custody comes after some of its competitors began offering crypto services. One of these is Falcon Private Bank, a Zurich-based bank that specializes in wealth management. In a press release in January, the bank announced that it would support the direct transfer of cryptos. This was in a move to “strengthen its first-mover position in blockchain banking.”

The bank’s CEO Martin Keller said at the time that this was yet another opportunity the bank had seized to “demonstrate its expertise as a market leader in the digital assets space.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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