Is The First Bitcoin Bank Set to Open in Switzerland?

The first ever bitcoin bank may be on its way to being established in Switzerland. According to various news reports, the group involved in the project has been holding talks with the Financial Market Supervisory Authority and they are set to submit their license application within the next few weeks. IT specialist Guido Rudolphi, one of eight people involved in the project, said they have spoken with investors and are already scouting for suitable premises for the bank.

If the project does materialize, it would result in an institution that would allow its clients access to conventional banking services while still raising revenues for the cryptocurrency industry. In addition, it would allow bitcoin exchanges to offer their services in Switzerland without the need to pass through foreign banks.

While no further details on the project were forthcoming, it is seen as an encouraging sign that Xapo recently decided to transfer its headquarters to Switzerland in order to take advantage of its regulatory stability as well as its secure cold storage vaults. Xapo specializes in bitcoin services and security and has been called the “Fort Knox” of bitcoin due to its cold storage vault servers, which offer secure storage of their clients’ bitcoin holdings.

The company made the move due to the concerns of its clients over increased regulation and oversight over the cryptocurrency in many countries. Switzerland was chosen due to its long-standing tradition of respecting the privacy of depositors in local banks as well as its neutrality and regulatory stability. However, Xapo CEO Wences Cesares said the move was not intended to abet criminal activity and customers who perform suspicious activities or do not conform to Swiss law will be reported to the proper authorities. In addition, those who cannot provide adequate documentation proving their identities will not be allowed to open accounts.

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