Swiss financial institution InCore Bank announced in a press release last week that it will offer Ethereum staking services to its banking clients to coincide with the network’s Shapella upgrade implementation.
The Ethereum upgrade enables the withdrawal of staked ETH that has been tied up since the switch to Proof of Stake (PoS), and makes staking a more viable yield opportunity for institutional and corporate investors.
InCore also revealed that Zurich-based Maerki Baumann was the first client to sign up for the new service.
Maerki Baumann is a private bank with a core focus on investment advice and asset management. It was one of the first Swiss banks to offer access to digital assets, launching a crypto strategy in 2019. This included an initial collaboration with InCore Bank to provide crypto trading and custody services, and this is being expanded to offer the new ETH staking opportunities to its private and corporate tech banking clients.
The new staking functionality is enabled using SDX Web3 services, with InCore providing crypto brokerage, banking operations and custody services, while SDX Web3 provides crypto custody and non-custodial staking operations.
SDX Web3 is a new venture from SIX Digital Exchange, the digital assets arm of Switzerland's main stock exchange, the third largest in Europe. It was founded to support SDX clients in their Web3 activities.
InCore Bank CEO Mark Dambacher said of the new staking service:
"We perceive an increasing interest in staking and ways to participate in the decentralized economy. InCore Bank's fully integrated and future-oriented staking services via segregated wallets, enable us to offer staking within a convenient, secure, regulated and tax-compliant setting. We are proud to be part of this strategic alliance with SDX.”
Ethereum started its transition to PoS when it launched the beacon chain in December 2020, with this then becoming the main chain in the Merge of September 2022, reducing the network’s energy consumption by over 99%.
Investors have been able to stake their tokens to secure the network and earn rewards, but until now have not been able to withdraw staked tokens. This changed with the successful implementation of the Shanghai/Shapella upgrade this week.
Following the upgrade, the Ether price topped $2000 for the first time since May of last year and is currently up 10% on pre-upgrade pricing. Despite fears, there was no major rush to liquidate staked ETH, with the majority being withdrawn by Kraken, which agreed to shut down its staking service for US users as part of a deal with the SEC.
Yet more evidence of the negative attitudes of US authorities toward crypto, although Switzerland is making great strides to integrate digital assets into its mainstream financial system. We continue to Observe future developments in both jurisdictions.