Santander Private Banking International, the international arm of Spanish lender Banco Santander, has recently announced it is delving deeper into the crypto market. The bank has rolled out a new service allowing high-net-worth clients with Swiss accounts to invest in and trade Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
Extending Crypto Services
Affluent customers of Santander Private Banking International will now have access to trade bitcoin and ether. The rollout of the new crypto trading service will initially start with BTC and ETH only, with the banking behemoth planning to introduce other cryptocurrencies meeting its stringent screening standards in the coming months.
As per the report, the digital asset services will be available exclusively at customers’ request and facilitated through their designated relationship managers. The bank will store the private cryptographic keys of the tradable cryptocurrencies in a secure and regulated environment.
The move by Santander, a prominent banking institution with a history spanning more than 160 years and an extensive customer base of 166 million, represents a wider acceptance of cryptocurrencies in mainstream banking.
John Whelan, head of crypto and digital assets at Santander, pointed at the progressiveness of Swiss crypto regulations while commenting on the development. Whelan explained:
“The Swiss regulation related to digital assets is one of the first and most advanced in the world since it provides clarity and a comprehensive regulatory environment for our clients. As holding of crypto as an alternative asset class continues to expand, we expect that our clients prefer to rely on their existing financial institutions to be responsible for their assets.”
More Traditional Banks Are Embracing Crypto
Santander’s push into digital asset trading is rather bold, as most multinational banks prefer dabbling in tokenization while avoiding direct exposure to open-access blockchains and crypto assets. The bank will likely benefit from Switzerland’s robust crypto regulatory outlook, overseen by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). Notably, Switzerland has been grabbing every chance to establish itself as a global leader in the cryptocurrency space.
Santander’s foray into crypto services is a rising trend among banking institutions across the globe. German bank Commerzbank was the first full-service bank in the country to secure a crypto custody license from local regulators. Commerzbank’s move positions it to cater to the growing institutional interest in crypto assets among its clients.
Dr. Jörg Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz, chief operating officer of Commerzbank, stressed the bank’s commitment to applying the latest groundbreaking technologies while fully complying with local regulations.
The increasing involvement of banks in the cryptosphere is a pivotal moment that demonstrates a growing acceptance of digital assets within mainstream financial services.