A Swiss private bank says it has the first regulatory approval in that country for a bitcoin investment product. In another signal regulators and investors are willing to accept Bitcoin’s potential, the bank is convinced the investment will serve its wealthy clients well.
Falcon Private Bank said it will work with local brokerage Bitcoin Suisse AG to build a BTC asset base. It will add to the 14.6 billion CHF ($15.12bn USD) in wealthy client assets Falcon already manages in Switzerland, U.A.E. and London.
CNBC reported that Zurich-based Falcon Private Bank said the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) gave it a blanket approval to manage assets based on blockchain technology. The bank had applied in late June.
Falcon’s global head of products and services Arthur Vayloyan said told CNBC that bitcoin and other digital currencies represent “a new chapter in how we exchange money”. He added that Falcon has been thinking about bitcoin assest management since the beginning of this year.
Swiss Banker: Bitcoin Similar to Gold, ‘Disinflationary’
In a video posted to Falcon’s website, Vayloyan said managing and explaining blockchain assets was “a daunting task”. He called Bitcoin “the mother of them all” and noted it shares many similarities with commodity gold. A key feature is Bitcoin’s “disinflationary nature” due to its hard-capped supply, he said.
In a separate statement, he said Falcon is “proud to be the first-mover in the Swiss private banking area to provide blockchain asset management for our clients.” However the bank did not clarify if it will look at other blockchain assets besides Bitcoin.
“Falcon is convinced that the time is right to enter this nascent market and it is our firm belief that this new product will fulfill our clients’ future needs.”
CNBC said FINMA was more concerned about consumer protection than illegal activities associated with Bitcoin. That’s a sign regulators are more interested in the stability of the technology than sensationalist media headlines.
More Legitimacy Means More Wealthy Investors and More Value
Bringing wealthy and institutional investors into Bitcoin for its growth potential could be a self-fulfilling prophesy. As well as the added legitimacy, it would bring a massive injection of fiat value that could see the bitcoin price rise to unprecedented levels.
Bitcoin already topped $3,000 USD in 2017, and that’s still on the back of individual enthusiasts.
The Winklevoss brothers and other Bitcoin whales know this well, and would dearly love to have their own fund. While the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) rejected the rule change they proposed to list a Bitcoin ETF earlier this year, that could be a temporary glitch.
Regulators in Japan have warmed to cryptocurrencies and blockchain assets, which some credit for this year’s price surge. There is already a bitcoin-based exchange traded note (ETN) operating out of Gibraltar. This week’s Swiss approval is one more baby step in a series that could soon become great leaps.
Is more regulator approval good news for Bitcoin? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Falcon Private Bank, Jon Southurst