A Swiss startup has raised $104 million in funding to build a regulated crypto bank.
Zug-headquartered Seba Crypto AG said it netted 100 million Swiss Francs from private and institutional investors. Backed by two former UBS managers Guido Buehler as CEO and Andreas Amschwand as chairman, Seba is now seeking regulatory approval from Finma to offer traditional and crypto banking services. If accepted, the bank will provide a regulated financial channel for companies and investors to move their fiat funds into cryptocurrencies and vice versa.
Buehler said they have been in talks with the Swiss regulators since April and are scheduled to submit their final application by the end of coming October according to the FT.
Finma has previously shut down many cryptocurrency companies that were operating without approval. The finance regulator, however, remains to be friendlier towards the crypto sector than its global counterparts. Zug, where Seba is based, has already earned itself a “crypto-valley” status for offering minimal financial restrictions and tax benefits.
Fund Allocation Plan
A mix of private and institutional investors from Switzerland, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia, including Black River Asset Management AG and Summer Capital, have invested in Seba. The bank will allocate some capital towards founding the infrastructure, and it will utilize the rest for self-capitalization so it can ensure investor protection.
“SEBA wants to bridge the gap between traditional banking and the new world of crypto,” Buehler said. “With safety, transparency, and performance as core values, our ambition is to become a market leader in the convergence of traditional finance with the crypto economy.”
Seba also has plans to incorporate consultation services for Initial Coin Offering (ICO) projects, a similar to how traditional banking services offer corporate financing consultation to firms conducting Initial Public Offering rounds. The bank will also act as a security dealer to manage cryptocurrency trading and investments accredited investors.
Seba could also go for a series B funding round while pursuing more workforce and seeking operational expansion in Europe and Singapore, Buehler said. The chief, however, didn’t specify by when they will start working on these plans, indicating the bank would prefer to settle its foot in Switzerland before ballooning to other territories of Europe, and Singapore as a whole.
The bank currently employs 17 people and has added more jobs to its career page after receiving the $100 million funding.
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