Swiss multinational investment bank Credit Suisse Group AG does not appreciate its employees promoting cryptocurrencies. According to unnamed sources quoted on Bloomberg, Brian Wirtz, an investment banker at the firm, is a bitcoin and blockchain proponent who is leaving his position after working five years at the financial services giant. Notably, he’s launching a firm that will operate with security token offerings.
Credit Suisse and UBS May Fall Behind Competitors
Wirtz is not the only employee to leave the traditional banking system to pursue blockchain based projects.
According to people familiar with the case, Wirtz was making efforts to involve the bank in crypto projects to ensure it does not fall behind its competitors. Wirtz’s Linkedin profile openly indicates his position as a “blockchain and crypto-asset investment-banking advisory.” Writz also led blockchain exploration for the bank’s tech investment banking unit.
Credit Suisse is not the only Swiss bank that has expressed distrust of cryptocurrencies. Swiss global financial services company UBS Group AG has also kept its distance from the crypto space. Even so, Credit Suisse is hedging its bets — it actually organizes conferences on digital money and blockchain.
UBS has also asked its employees to seek its permission before trading digital currencies, even from personal accounts.
Nordea Bank, the Northern European banking giant, has also barred all its employees from owning cryptocurrencies. It also has restricted its staff from even learning about cryptocurrencies’ underpinning technology.
Many Switch From Traditional Banking to Crypto Space
Marco Abel, former digital chief at Credit Suisse, has initiated an Ethereum blockchain investment platform, dubbed Tend, that will enable people to invest in and assess provenance of vintage cars, artworks and many other similar items. Abel wants to target wealthy people in emerging economies who intend to buy such collectibles.
At the launch, Abel said: “It’s basically democratizing the access to very high value, precious assets, and making them available to a broader audience of the planet. I just find that a very beautiful purpose.”
Nikolay Storonsky, another Credit Suisse alumnus, has also launched a digital banking alternative — Revolut. Last year, Revolut raised funds to start offering cryptocurrency trading.
The trend is not only limited to Credit Suisse. Blythe Masters, ex of JPMorgan Chase & Co., co-founded Digital Asset Holdings — a firm develop distributed ledger technology solutions for financial institutions.
Most of the employees who have switched from traditional banking to the new revolutionary technology space often are now competing with their former employers, who have dominated the industry for years.
Even some employees at banks who do not embrace distributed ledger, cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies say their advancement will remove middleman such as banks, hence cutting a big slice out of their profit. And if that’s true, it might be time to leave the ship.
Will Credit Suisse embrace blockchain technology anytime soon? Let us know your views in the comments section.
Images via Credit Suisse, CNN