BBVA has begun to roll out the trials of what will become its first commercial service for the trading and custody of digital assets. The new service, which is to be offered through BBVA Switzerland, will make it possible to manage bitcoin transactions and have deposits in this cryptocurrency.
Starting in January 2021, BBVA’s unit in Switzerland will progressively launch a new service for the trading and custody of digital assets. BBVA has spent over five years exploring blockchain technology in very different areas - from international payments, trade finance to capital markets. The evolution of blockchain technology, together with the growing demand for cryptocurrency services, have helped BBVA find the right moment to explore its first solution related to the management of digital assets.
“Digital assets have enormous potential to transform the way value and information are exchanged through blockchain technology. Financial institutions, in collaboration with supervisors, can play a relevant role in the integration of digital assets in current markets and infrastructures,” said Alicia Pertusa, Head of Client Solutions Strategy at BBVA.
In addition, this initiative comes at a time when several countries are taking important steps toward a new regulation on how these digital asset markets can operate.
This service will allow BBVA to respond to the growing demand from investors with high levels of knowledge, who are already operating with these digital currencies, but through fintechs or startups. It is also an innovative solution in the market that allows clients to invest and combine traditional financial assets with digital ones in a single investment portfolio.
Starting in 2021, BBVA will offer its clients a service of trading and custody of digital assets, with all the guarantees of any other banking service, with a transparent system that is very simple to operate. BBVA will initially only manage bitcoin transactions and accounts, as it is the most accepted cryptocurrency, but it plans to expand its offering to include other digital assets. BBVA will not offer advisory services for this type of assets.
This service will be offered first in Switzerland due to the fact that it is the most advanced European country in terms of regulation and adoption of digital assets, and has a wide array of companies in blockchain technology, which it is very useful to start these services. In fact, several banks already offer digital asset management services for institutional clients, businesses and individual customers.
BBVA has a presence in Switzerland through a wholly-owned subsidiary in that market, which is dedicated to international private banking services.