Switzerland’s First Licensed Crypto Bank is Eyeing Singapore Next

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Swiss and Singapore-based cryptocurrency firm Sygnum is in talks with local regulators to seal a banking license in Singapore.

Business News Bloomberg reported on Aug. 28 that Syngum — which has only just recently been issued a conditional banking and securities dealer license in Switzerland — aims to become a fully regulated bank in Singapore as well.

Becoming a full-fledged, regulated crypto bank

Syngum co-founder and chief strategy officer Gerald Goh has clarified that once the firm becomes a full-fledged Swiss bank later this year, it will proceed with its application for the traditional banking license in Singapore. This is necessary for the firm to provide a full suite of financial services on the island nation, he said. 

Such services encompass custodial services for Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and conversions between the two cryptocurrencies, Swiss francs, Singapore and U.S. dollars and euros. 

As a regulated bank, Sygnum will also be able to roll out digital asset custody, brokerage and tokenization services for accredited investors and institutions.

Fellow co-founder and Sygnum CEO Mathias Imbach outlined that:

“We have been approached over the past few months by many parties who hold a lot of cryptocurrencies and look for a fully regulated bank. One of their biggest challenges is to find banking specialists to connect them to the real world, to pay their taxes, their employees’ salary.”

Zeroing in on compliance  

To date, Sygnum has raised roughly 60 million Swiss francs ($61 million), including investments from institutions such as Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. Chua Kimg Leng — former special advisor for financial supervision at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) — sits on the company’s board and heads its internal Anti-Money Laundering committee. 

All board directors and roughly 85% of employees at the firm are shareholders. 

As it awaits regulatory approval, Syngum’s CEO said the company is meanwhile focusing on carrying out robust due diligence on all new potential clients to mitigate money laundering risks.

This spring, Cointelegraph reported that Sygnum had partnered with global market infrastructure provider Deutsche Borse Group, Swiss state-owned telecoms and ICT firm Swisscom to build out a compliant financial market infrastructure for digital assets. 

Together Sygnum, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) also this week finalized a banking and securities dealer license for cryptocurrency firm Seba Crypto AG.

On Aug. 26, FINMA published new guidance on regulatory requirements for blockchain-based payments.