Business 7 June 2018Cecille de Jesus
Swiss bank offers business accounts to blockchain and crypto companies, first in the country
While some banks have been spurning blockchain and cryptocurrency activities, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg is welcoming them with open arms.
Cointelegraph Germany reported yesterday that Hypothekarbank Lenzburg has confirmed that blockchain and cryptocurrency companies can now open corporate bank accounts with them, making them the first bank in the country to open their doors to what is otherwise seen as a threat to traditional banking institutions.
CEO Marianne Wildi told the news site that they have assessed the risks involved in cryptocurrencies and ICO’s, including money laundering, and have consulted the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) before making the decision. Wildi added that the bank enforces a strict screening process before accepting clients.
“As a bank that sets itself up technologically and pursues a cooperative strategy in the field of fintech, it is also a matter of credibility to work together with the young sector of crypto and blockchain companies in Switzerland,” Wildi said.
The move is consistent with Switzerland’s bid to stay competitive in the emerging industry. It can be noted that the cryptocurrency sphere is bustling in the country, which is establishing itself as a “Crypto Nation.” They established a “Crypto Valley” in Zug, and the FINMA has been active in making regulatory sense of ICO’s. Apart from this, cryptocurrency transactions and gains also enjoy low tax rates in the country.
Hypothekarbank Lenzburg’s acceptance of blockchain and cryptocurrency companies is one that contradicts what other cryptocurrency companies—and even individual enthusiasts experience in other territories.
In India, an ongoing case against the Royal Bank of India has been filed by cryptocurrency exchange start-up CoinRecoil after the central bank handed down an order banning banks from engaging in any cryptocurrency-related activities, which would essentially choke the life out of companies like CoinRecoil.
In Israel, a series of discriminatory cases against companies and individuals dealing with cryptocurrencies have been noticed. In May, Bank Hapoalim rejected a customer’s incoming fund transfer of $195,000 because it came from cryptocurrency-related activities. This is despite the customer’s full AML compliance and tax declaration. The bank was ultimately forced to let the transfer through when the Supreme Court stepped in. Prior to that, in February, Leumi Bank also lost its case against cryptocurrency exchange Bits of Gold, whose account they terminated without valid reasons.
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