PostFinance, Switzerland’s fifth-largest financial services firm, says it will begin offering its users access to cryptocurrency, thanks to a partnership with regulated digital asset services provider Sygnum Bank.
PostFinance, which is owned by the Swiss government, will start by providing its 2.5 million customers access to buy, store and sell leading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH), with more crypto-tokens to be added in due course.
Switzerland marches to the beat of its own drum and stands in stark contrast to places like the U.S., where a concerted effort to stamp crypto out seems to be the end goal. Crypto-focused Sygnum, which attained a banking license from Swiss regulators some four years ago, caters to a range of institutions, including Cantonal banks and private banks.
“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,” said PostFinance Chief Investment Officer Philipp Merkt in a statement. “A reputable and established partner like Sygnum Bank with an excellent service offering is more important than ever.”
The decision by PostFinance to branch into crypto was partly driven by outflows from retail banks in Switzerland into the digital asset class, according to Fritz Jost, chief B2B officer, Sygnum Bank.
“PostFinance became aware of a considerable number in the hundreds of millions each year of outflows to crypto exchanges and the like,” said Jost in an interview with CoinDesk. “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.”
Jost said a diverse range of cryptos will be certainly made available but has not been decided yet by PostFinance.
“We have seen banks make crypto available to their clients before, and the next thing they want is staking and so on,” said Jost. “I can certainly confirm PostFinance has a roadmap, and it’s a case of start with buy, hold and sell to sort of grease the wheels within the organization and clients.”
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.