Seba and Sygnum: crypto banks under pressure 2

Seba and Sygnum: crypto banks under pressure

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For Switzerland thirsty for innovation, it marks an important step: two Crypto-authorized banksBut the hard work for both startups is just beginning.

With Seba Crypto and Sygnum, two cryptographic startups were simultaneously awarded a finma banking license. This is a decisive step for two reasons: firstly, at least on paper up to now, there is actually a gap between the young Swiss crypto-blockchain ecosystem and the emerging and the traditional Swiss banking system.

Seba and Sygnum are the first crypto-banks authorized to strengthen the attractiveness of the Swiss financial center for domestic and international clients, active in the fields of cryptocurrencies, digital assets and tokens.

Finma has proved its independence

These offerings are meeting increasing demand since the industry has taken a more serious and sober approach as a result of the collapse of the cryptography boom last year. The involvement of traditional banks such as Vontobel, Swissquote and Maerki Baumann in the field of crypto and blockchain finance is also favorable. In fact, many more Swiss banks are now operating through specialized cryptographic service providers than they would have publicly announced.

The second reason to mark a milestone in the granting of both banking licenses lies in the Finma itself. It is an unprecedented global effort for a national regulator to give full credit to two cryptographic startups. Finma has thus proved its independence as well as its pragmatic openness to a financial sector already in full expansion. At the same time, Finma announced a constant fight against money laundering in the blockchain sector.

Nothing is still won

And now? Even though Seba in Zug and Sygnum in Zurich on Monday probably the champagne corks jumped: Won the two young banks with the Finmalizenz still nothing. On the contrary: Seba and Sygnum, who decided to play the role of bank, have chosen an economic model that allows them to spend a lot of money on zero sales.

The capital required for the start-up model Bank is huge: Seba Crypto has 100 million francs, Sygnum has raised 60 million francs from investors in the last 18 months.

One of the biggest concerns of the CEO Guido Bühler at Seba and the co-patrons Manual warrior and Mathias Imbach at Sygnum – it will be to keep the so-called "burn rate" – so the consumption of money – under control. This is not an easy task. Both banks employ far more than a handful of technicians and well-paid bankers.

Modest sounds

Seba and Sygnum are therefore under pressure to quickly establish a paying clientele and generate revenue, particularly in view of the fact that the preparatory work should have been completed until the receipt of the Finma license in the capital.

Nevertheless, on Monday, Bühler and the Krieger-Imbach duo were rather modest. "Because we pushed the configuration so quickly, we want to start modestly, with a group of ten to fifteen customers," said Bühler. With that, Seba wants to launch the services in a kind of pilot project. If that succeeds, Seba will start by integrating other groups of clients from other jurisdictions.

At Sygnum, the process of creating the bank is just beginning, said Krieger. Until Sygnum can really start with a product offering, it still has to work on the processes.

Little differentiation

There is no need to speculate which of the two cryptographic banks has the best chances on the market. In principle, the two companies are looking for a similar range of services for customers using Fiat currency: trading and management of cryptocurrency and digital assets, custody services, chip creation, liquidity management and Bank transactions.