Online banking service provider Swissquote has seen a 44 percent surge in profits in the first half of 2018, an uplift attributed to the “crypto boom” earlier this year, local news outlet Finews reports July 31.

In July 2017, the Swiss-based online bank was credited by many with becoming “the first” European online bank to launch Bitcoin (BTC) trading accounts for its clients.

Other Swiss financial institutions have been clamoring to post “firsts” in the integration of crypto into the financial sector, with Falcon Private Bank moving in just ahead of Swissquote in July 2017 to offer its clients direct access to Bitcoin and altcoin portfolios through a partnership with Bitcoin Suisse AG.

Finews attributes Swissquote’s bullish growth in Q1 2018 to a “brisk demand” for crypto products and the soaring fortunes of crypto markets earlier this year.   

The Swissquote Group posted a profit of 25.7 million CHF ($26.01 million) in the first half of 2018, a 44 percent increase over the previous year, and saw a sharp rise in both the number of customer accounts and trading activity. According to Finews, the figures outstripped analysts’ calculations by 2.5 million CHF ($2.53 million).

This is the second time Swissquote’s earnings have exceeded expectations, with the bank already in January attributing its steep growth and burgeoning activity to being “swamped with interest” in Bitcoin trading. At the time, the bank said that “several thousand new account applications [were] being submitted every week.”

The number of customer accounts in the commercial sector in the first half of 2018 increased by 16,278, with each completing an average of 11.8 transactions, compared to the previous year’s one transaction over the same period.

Overall, client assets rose by 20 percent to CHF 25.5 billion ($25.81 billion) as of mid-2018. Net new capital inflows were a solid 60 percent above the previous year, hitting CHF 2.4 billion ($2.43 billion). For the full year, Swissquote is anticipating that income and profits will increase by 15 percent — higher than its earlier target of 10 percent.

Since its flagship Bitcoin offering in mid-2017, Swissquote has diversified its crypto investment products, adding support for four further major cryptocurrencies in December 2017 and in March introducing an exchange traded product (ETP) that tracks a multi-cryptocurrency index. Swissquote’s crypto ETP is listed on the country’s largest stock exchange, the Six Swiss Exchange.

This June, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg became “the first” Swiss bank to provide business accounts to blockchain and cryptocurrency companies, after close consultation with local regulator the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).