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Switzerland’s First Licensed Crypto Bank is Eyeing Singapore Next

Sygnum is in talks with local regulators to seal a banking license in Singapore, Bloomberg reported on Aug. 28.

The cryptocurrency firm has only just been issued a conditional banking and securities dealer license in Switzerland — and now aims to become a fully regulated bank on the island nation so it can provide a full suite of financial services.

Becoming a full-fledged, regulated crypto bank

Sygnum co-founder and chief strategy officer Gerald Goh said its application for the Singapore license will get underway once it becomes a fully fledged Swiss bank later this year.

The financial services it would be able to offer include custodial services for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), as well as conversions between the two cryptocurrencies and Swiss francs, euros, Singapore dollars and U.S. dollars. 

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 said:

“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 — 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, Sygnum’s CEO said the company is 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 and Swiss state-owned telecoms and ICT firm Swisscom to build out a compliant financial market infrastructure for digital assets. 

Sygnum and 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.

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