Swiss Crypto Broker Bitcoin Suisse Applies for Banking and Securities Licenses

These anticipatory steps have been taken in face of a "maturing" regulatory environment, as the firm plans to expand its crypto-related financial services.

AccessTimeIconJul 17, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 12, 2022 at 12:42 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin Suisse, a crypto-broker and pioneer of Switzerland’s “Crypto Valley,” has taken anticipatory steps to comply with a "maturing" regulatory environment.

The firm announced on Tuesday that it has applied for a banking license with Swiss Financial Markets Supervision Authority (FINMA), as well as a security dealer’s license, mandated by the Stock Exchange and Securities Trading Act (SESTA). In the past, financial authorities at the Swiss Federal Council said blockchain and distributed ledger technology will be governed by existing regulatory schemes.

However, a Suisse company representative said:

"We believe that in the long-term, more regulation will follow, as soon as the legislation catches up with the technological developments of the space. We believe that within this new regulatory environment, companies without the necessary licenses will have a limited ability to serve clients with the full spectrum of high quality, innovative crypto-financial products and solutions."

In the announcement, the company said these preemptive licenses will expand the number of regulated services and products it can offer as "more and more crypto assets and services fall under securities and banking law." At the moment, the company representative denied comment on specific assets, but offered, "A securities dealer license would enable us to trade crypto tokens that have been classified as securities by the financial regulator. This would include our own stable coin, the Swiss Crypto Franc."

In May, SIX, the Swiss national stock exchange group announced it was developing the CHF Stable Coin pegged to the Swiss franc – to automate processes and potentially tokenize assets on the SIX Digital Exchange.

As part of Swiss banking guidelines, the company announced it has deposited CHF45 million – an equivalent amount in USD – as collateral for a default bank guarantee. It plans to increase this reserve by CHF10 million, past the mandatory limit. These holdings will help secure clients’ fiat and pooled crypto deposits.

This is not to say Swiss regulations are overly burdensome. "The regulatory industry in Switzerland is very crypto-friendly. The Federal Council as well as the FINMA are pursuing a very constructive approach that fosters innovation in the long-term," a company representative said

Indeed, these applications come after the firm already extended its list of tradable assets to 125 cryptocurrencies, enabling more than 6,000 trading pairs, as well as the firm's entrance into the collateralized lending and credit markets for institutional clients last year. Its expanded footprint also includes the firm’s subsidiary Swiss Crypto Vault AG which provides custodial crypto storage for businesses. As of June, the vault oversees $1 billion in assets.

Founded in 2013 as a brokerage, the firm has expanded to include prime brokerage, trading, storage, and lending services.

According to the announcement, Suisse’s net income this past year reached CHF25 million, from revenues of CHF44 million. It has also added 90 experts to its staff and expanded offices to Zug, Copenhagen and Vaduz.

Swiss army knife photo via Shutterstock


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