SYGNUM COFOUNDERS MATHIAS IMBACH, GERALD GOH AND MANUEL STRIEGER WITH THE LETTER CONTAINING APPROVAL FROM FINMA. SOURCE: SYGNUM
Sygnum, one of two crypto asset banks to be granted an operational license by the Swiss financial regulator FINMA, opened its doors last week. And customers have come pouring through them, the company’s cofounder Mathias Imbach told Decrypt today.
“Since the licence was awarded, we have been experiencing an overwhelming number of preboarding submissions,” said Imbach.
Zurich-based Sygnum became a fully regulated digital-asset bank at the end of August. It cleared remaining paperwork just a week after receiving its provisional license to integrate cryptocurrency into a wide range of services—custody, brokerage, tokenization, asset management, credit and business-to-business banking.
It’s the first full approval of its kind granted anywhere in the world, and is widely seen as a major step towards the mainstream adoption of digital assets into regulated finance.
And, on Monday, the new crypto bank announced that it had also begun onboarding customers, on September 18, and has registered its first transactions on the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains.
Imbach told Decrypt that Sygnum had already taken major strides in forming partnerships with financial entities, both inside and outside the crypto ecosystem, who are interested in its institutional-grade digital custody and a regulated fiat-to-crypto gateway.
“We are in discussions with banks to support them in offering digital assets to their clients, leveraging our white-label solution,” he said. “We are also in close contact with SIX Digital Exchange and hope to be one of the first banks connected to the digital assets exchange once live.
Swiss stock exchange SIX launched a pilot version of its exchange for digital assets on Monday.
Sygnum first announced plans to provide a regulated digital asset ecosystem in March, when it partnered with major Swiss telecoms provider Swisscom and trading marketplace Deutsche Börse for the initiative.
The initiative targets two types of customer, said Imbach. The new crypto bank’s customer base can broadly be separated into digital investors who are looking to either invest in new assets or to commit their existing assets into custody, and professionals involved in the asset management field.
The latter includes brokers and family offices, “looking for a safe gateway to access the market, or a bank who knows how to deal with this asset class,” he added.
Customer assets are held in individual secured wallets, with Sygnum managing the private keys—an experience which mimics e-banking.
Whether that’s a good or bad thing for a crypto bank that’s been dubbed “revolutionary” depends on your point of view. But according to Sygnum, there’s certainly an appetite for it.