The Zurich-based subsidiary of Gazprombank, which is the third-largest bank in Russia, has reportedly been approved by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) to begin offering a number of cryptocurrency-related services. Gazprombank said on Thursday that this includes “custody of cryptocurrencies as well as trading between crypto and fiat currencies.”
Roman Abdulin, the chief executive of Gazprombank’s Swiss subsidiary, said that “the authorization by the Swiss regulator FINMA marks a very important milestone for Gazprombank,” and that the bank “expect[s] digital assets to become increasingly important in the global economy and, in particular, for our current and potential clientele.”
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Indeed, according to an official announcement, “the new services will include institutional-grade storage solutions and the purchase and sale of bitcoin.” However, Gazprombank plans to “gradually expand the offering to include additional cryptocurrencies and other products and services.”
After undergoing a “stringent evaluation process,” the bank also said that the new services will initially be only available to a limited selection of its corporate and institutional clients
“The clients get access to cryptocurrency liquidity, while the safekeeping of the cryptocurrencies is taken care of by a Swiss regulated bank,” the bank said, adding that “the counterparty risk is limited.”
Switzerland May Lead the Global Pack in Terms of Cryptocurrency Regulations
Switzerland has long been ahead of the curb in terms of regulatory support for cryptocurrency adoption.
In fact, FinMA’s approval of Gazprombank as a crypto-related financial services provider follows the passage of a wide-ranging set of financial and corporate law reforms in September known as the ‘Blockchain Act’.
SwissInfo reported that the act “sailed through the House of Representatives unopposed in the summer,” and it will likely to come into effect early in 2021.
When the Blockchain Act was passed, Heinz Tännler, President of the Swiss Blockchain Federation, said that “as of next year, Switzerland will have a regulatory framework that is among the most advanced in the world.”