Spain’s second largest bank will launch its cryptocurrency trading and custody service in January 2021.
BBVA’s Swiss division will handle the submission process, which will initially be dedicated to Bitcoin before exploring other virtual currencies. The bank says it has spent more than five years researching blockchain and its various applications, believing it is now the ‘right moment’ to launch into the growing market in response to rocket demand.
BBVA customers will be able to buy, sell, hold and trade Bitcoin with ‘all securities of any other banking service’.
The service will launch in Switzerland ‘due to the fact that it is the most advanced European country in regulating and adopting digital assets, “the bank said in a press release. He also highlighted the ‘wide range’ of blockchain companies in Switzerland, making it a strong crusade for wider adoption in Europe.
“Digital assets have huge potential to transform the way value and knowledge are exchanged through blockchain technology,” said Alicia Pertusa, Head of Client Solutions Strategy at BBVA. “Financial institutions, in conjunction with supervisors, can play a relevant role in integrating digital assets into existing markets and infrastructures.”
Are banks ready for Bitcoin?
Bitcoin and other major altcoins have returned to prominence as potential solutions to the myriad of issues thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic, including international payments. Cryptocurrencies are attracting vast new stores of personal wealth and institutional capital. Bitcoin rose to a new record value earlier this month at $ 19,920.53, the first new trading peak since 2017.
In the UK, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey confirmed that the bank is exploring the launch of its own virtual currency. “We are looking at the question of whether we should create the Bank of England’s digital currency,” he said, adding that such a move would have “huge implications” on payments and society.
Across the pond, digital money is also gaining favor in the mainstream. “Even the top tiers of the US financial system seem to be considering how crypto could fit into the post-Covid reality,” Dacxi MD Katharine Wooler wrote in a recent column for FinTech Magazine, as officials explore future avenues for the USD in an increasingly global digital financial system.