Long in the making, Zurich’s Crypto Broker AG announced Monday it has been granted a securities house license by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
Crypto Broker AG is part of a digital assets conglomerate that includes asset management and custody services. The license means broadening the scope of its business and adding a rubber-stamp when it comes to compliance, risk monitoring, liquidity reporting and so on, said Crypto Broker CEO Rupertus Rothenhaeuser.
“Some of our client banks have strict orders only to trade with regulated partners,” Rothenhaeuser said in an interview. “Now it’s just a case of calling them up to tick a box and they can start trading.”
Switzerland is probably the only place on the planet where regulations are actually keeping up with crypto infrastructure. That said, only a handful of crypto firms have been given FINMA’s blessing.
The securities license invites Crypto Broker AG to join other regulated Swiss crypto players like SEBA and Sygnum, and dive into the world of regulated security tokens (an area that just received further clarity in Switzerland thanks to the so-called “super DLT law”).
In terms of immediate practicalities, being a licensed broker allows the firm to hold funds in fiat currency for clients, which removes headaches around payments and processing, said Rothenhaeuser.
“On the one side, we are very much a modern, fast, DLT-based business. But on the other side, the payment cycle for cryptocurrency transactions reminds me sometimes of being back in the 1980s,” Rothenhaeuser said. “Being a securities license holder enables us to keep funds in the account rather than always keep the balance zero, so we can do much better straight through processing and also maximize our margins.”
Asked which big players are waiting in line to start trading with Crypto Broker AG, Rothenhaeuser politely declined to name names, but said some big players will appear in the news cycle shortly.
“We’ve been waiting four and a half years for this license. I expect to be on the phone solidly for the next five days,” he said.