While incumbent banks stay on the sidelines when it comes to offering crypto services, BBVA is giving its Swiss clients opportunities to invest and experiment with decentralized finance.

Not many banks in Europe are engaging with cryptocurrencies, even though many of their customers are. However, BBVA, through its global private banking arm in Switzerland, is one of the few that are actively engaging, experimenting with different protocols in the market and educating itself, as well as its clients.

“When we realised how strong blockchain technology was a few years ago, we decided to analyze where the potential business opportunities were for the BBVA group and BBVA Switzerland, and, even more crucially, how we can put these opportunities in the hands of our customers”

says Alfonso Gómez, CEO, BBVA Switzerland.

“We have the responsibility to create these new paths of investments.”

BBVA Switzerland’s crypto-asset service, including trading and custody, became operational for all customers in June 2021. It started with bitcoin and added ether to the investment portfolio at the end of the year. The bank is not providing cryptocurrency trading advice, solely execution.

Despite the onset of what many are calling ‘crypto winter’, with bitcoin dropping 54.5% and ether down 66.8% in value between January 1 and June 26, according to data from CoinDesk, Mr Gómez remains bullish and emphasises the great growth potential of the market. “Customers are in a learning process, as we are, and are dealing much more today than six months ago. Likewise, we have almost double assets under management in the crypto space than we had six months ago, even though the market has gone down almost 40%,” he says.

The bank is working with Metaco, a software company supporting the banking adoption of digital assets, mainly through custody infrastructure. Founder and CEO, Adrien Treccani, says that many banks’ attitude to cryptocurrencies shifted in 2020.

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