PostFinance, one of Switzerland’s largest retail banks with a customer base of 2.5 million, has partnered with Sygnum Bank to offer customers access to cryptocurrency and digital asset services, according to a press release. Using Sygnum’s regulated B2B banking platform, PostFinance will seamlessly integrate this new product range into its existing infrastructure.
The bank intends to launch a growing range of bank-grade digital asset products and services. The initial offering will enable customers to buy, sell and store bitcoin and ether, although there are plans to add more cryptocurrencies, along with revenue-generating services such as staking, at a later date.
The partnership follows an analysis of PostFinance customer investment needs, revealing an increasing demand for access to digital assets, as CIO Philipp Merkt explained: "Digital assets have become an integral part of the financial world, and our customers want access to this market at PostFinance, their trusted principal bank.”
Sygnum’s chief B2B officer, Fritz Jost, gave a slightly blunter take on the subject, telling CoinDesk: “PostFinance became aware of a considerable number in the hundreds of millions each year of outflows to crypto exchanges and the like. So they saw that this is not only as an opportunity to add a new revenue stream, but also realized that this has a lot to do with client retention.”
Zurich-based Sygnum describes itself as the world’s first digital asset bank, having held a Swiss banking license for around four years and expanding its Singapore asset management license last year. It has steadily built up its portfolio of both digital asset services, such as adding access to DeFi functionality. The B2B banking platform has already onboarded more than 15 partner financial organizations banks, including Switzerland-based Marcuard Heritage, Bordier & Cie SCmA and VZ VermögensZentrum as well as Portuguese Bison Bank
It has also developed its own tokenization platform, Desygnate, enabling fractionalized ownership and lowering the barrier of investment into high-value assets. For example, in 2021 it tokenized both a physical artwork by Pablo Picasso, the ‘Fillette au béret’ valued at €4 million, and a CryptoPunk NFT through the platform, enabling smaller investors to own a share in these assets.
The bank has reportedly seen an influx of enquiries from international crypto firms following last month’s US crypto banking sector collapse. In contrast to the apparent attempts to suppress crypto innovation by US authorities, Switzerland has taken a far more positive approach, implementing a regulatory environment in which compliant digital asset technologies can thrive.
However, while Sygnum is scaling its support and compliance teams to welcome many of these new potential clients, it has stated that it will not be onboarding those based in the United States, due to a longstanding policy not to service the US market.
As ever, we continue to Observe with interest.