St. Wales Kantonalbank (SGKB), the fifth-largest cantonal bank in Switzerland, is offering customers the chance to buy and trade cryptocurrency, a move that extends the country’s digital assets adoption beyond wealthy clients to retail consumers.
SGKB, founded in 1868 with 35 branches in the east of the country, is working with SEBA Bank, a FINMA-regulated digital asset specialist that is helping the regional bank to offer custody and trading services in bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) .
The first customers will be wealth-management clients of the bank, but retail customers are next in line, and other coins and staking services are also planned, according to Christian Bieri, SEBA Bank’s head of investment solutions.
There have been a number of Swiss banks joining up to provide crypto, often to private clients and high-net-worth individuals. Now the trend is moving to include retail consumers across the crypto-friendly country.
“It’s the first bank with a clear retail focus that we have onboarded and an example of the development we are seeing in Switzerland,” Bieri said in an interview. “This started some years ago with wealth management and private banking, and now we see a lot of interest as well from retail banks.”
SEBA, however, is not the first to push retail crypto banking. Last month, regulated business-to-business crypto specialist Sygnum partnered with Zuger Kantonalbank for a mobile-based crypto offering.
It’s a rising tide for all boats, according to Bieri. “But I think the market will be big enough for multiple offerings. And I think that competition helps to grow the market and helps to grow adoption.”