Julius Baer and Swiss-licensed crypto bank SEBA will extend their service offering. A promising partnership, as traditional financial service providers and blockchain startups get more interconnected.

Julius Baer, one of Switzerland‘s oldest private banks, has announced to launch digital asset services. Already back in February, the bank started a partnership with crypto bank SEBA Bank AG and launched a range of crypto and blockchain banking services. It will now extend its offering.

“Julius Baer has extended its service range and as of now includes digital assets offerings such as secure storage and transaction solutions, but also consolidated portfolio overviews across both conventional and digital assets. The Bank is able to offer access to a select group of cryptocurrencies, chosen for their tradability, safety, and technical reliability,” reads the official press release.

Julius Baer said it would provide digital asset services using “the innovative and cutting-edge platform and capabilities of SEBA.” The bank has not revealed which digital coins it will offer but said the currencies had been selected based on their tradability, safety, and technical reliability.

The partnership between the two banks could go a long way

SEBA Bank AG was granted regulatory approval by the country’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) in August 2019 to provide banking services. As of now, it is one of two licensed crypto-focused banks in Switzerland, with Sygnum being the other.

The partnership between the two banks could go a long way. Julius Baer is a leading international bank with CHF 422 billion of assets under management and a presence in more than 25 countries.

SEBA, on the other hand, is nowhere near Julius Baer’s scale but has developed an innovative service platform that aims at bridging the gap between the crypto world and traditional banking.

Traditional banking and blockchain are coming together

Looking at the bigger picture, the partnership is also representative for an ongoing trend in the traditional banking industry, where financial institutions and blockchain businesses are getting more interconnected. With greater regulatory certainty, established banks are more willing to take the risk of offering digital asset products and services.

That’s why crypto banking has been expanding through partnerships within the financial industry over the past year, in particular in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and now also Germany, where regulators have started to put the necessary legal frameworks in place.

Besides Julius Baer and SEBA, there is a range of other partnerships between traditional financial institutions and fintech companies:

In Switzerland, the other Finma-licensed crypto bank, Sygnum, announced this week that the SIX-listed Amun Sygnum Platform Winners Index ETP is now available through its own platform, other banks, and several brokerages.  Already last year, Swiss-based Arab Bank teamed up with blockchain tech firm Taurus to provide its customers with access to cryptocurrencies, custody and brokerage services. Bank Vontobel and Taurus are operating a digital asset vault for institutional investors.

And the range goes on, Gazprombank, Falcon Private Bank, Bank Zarattine have cooperation projects with blockchain startups in place.

Likewise, in Liechtenstein, Bank Frick has become a leading blockchain bank and in Germany, banks and regulated exchanges are increasingly engaging with blockchain startups or developing their own offerings internally.

Long story short: The traditional financial industry and the blockchain sector are coming together. What may today be considered as two different industries will soon become one and the same as we move forward into the digital era.

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