Swiss bank Falcon Private Bank has received authorization from the Swiss Financial Supervisory Authority FINMA for the management of assets based on the Blockchain technology supporting Bitcoin, CNBC reports.
The Zürich-based private bank manages around $15.1 bln worth of client assets and has offices across Europe and the Middle East.
According to the bank’s global head of products and services, Arthur Vayloyan, the initiative marks a new chapter in how they exchange money:
“As a financial services partner, I think we have to become part of that strategy."
Asset management services
Under the initiative, Falcon will access Bitcoin through Bitcoin Suisse, a Switzerland-based digital currency broker. It is also expected that other private banks will use Bitcoin and other digital currencies for their asset management services due to the country’s reputation as a global leader in terms of banking practices.
In his comment, Bitcoin Suisse chief executive officer (CEO), Niklas Nikolajsen said that FINMA has focused more on how to protect the consumers rather than in the possibility that Bitcoin would be utilized to finance illegal transactions during its review of Falcon’s application.
"I would assume it would not be long before the rest of the banking sector will follow suit. The genie is out of the bottle and crypto assets bring a value proposition that you can't ignore."
Bitcoin ATMs installed
Based on reports, the private bank has already installed a Bitcoin ATM in the lobby of its headquarters in Zürich to enable its clients to withdraw the cryptocurrency to their phones.
The bank, however, has set a minimum client investment to Bitcoin at two mln Swiss francs. This means that majority of Swiss citizens will not be able to invest in cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, through the bank.