Switzerland’s Post Office is set to onboard cryptocurrency trading through its banking arm PostFinance as user appetite for custody grows in the country.
Some 2.7 million users that currently bank with PostFinance, the fifth largest bank in the country, are expected to be able to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through an inhouse trading and custody service in the next two years.
In correspondence with Cointelegraph, PostFinance spokesperson Dörte Horn confirmed that the executive board sees digital assets as a strategic growth area and will provide direct access to cryptocurrency markets through a proprietary service owned by PostFinance by 2024 at the latest.
It’s the latest step by the institution to afford its clients the ability to gain access to cryptocurrencies. In 2021, PostFinance partnered with online trading platform Swissquote to develop the Yuh mobile application - which gives users access to traditional shares and stock markets as well as over 25 cryptocurrencies.
Horn noted that the joint venture between the two firms would continue, but a shift to a new customer segment by Yuh means that it operates independently from PostFinance’s retail business. This is part of the reason for PostFinance developing an independent offering.
While more tech-savvy users are content with a third-party service provider like Yuh as their gateway to cryptocurrency markets in the country, PostFinance is looking to give customers direct access to these markets as Horn explained:
“Demand from PostFinance customers is very high and the market continues to grow with many exciting options related to the DLT or blockchain technology. Many customers choose to go to a foreign exchange to trade cryptocurrencies because their own bank does not have its own service range.”
PostFinance also indicated that it is building a ‘digital assets team’ that will develop its cryptocurrency offering and continue to add new features and products once their platform goes live.
Switzerland continues to be a center for cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption. The Italian-speaking Swiss town of Lugano was the most recent region to announce acceptance of Bitcoin, Tether and LVGA tokens as a recognized means of payment for taxes, public services and tuition fees for students in a partnership with Tether.
Meanwhile the Swiss Central Bank has had a mixed attitude towards the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Project Helvetia was launched to pilot the use of a CBDC with commercial banking partners in the country, while its governing board was still considering potential risks.