Spain's BBVA opens crypto-trading for Swiss clients

Photo: EPA

The Spanish BBVA announced it was starting trading with bitcoins as part of services offered to private banking clients in Switzerland, Reuters reported. The move follows several calls from customers interested in digital asset investment. The bank said the new business would include bitcoin trading and custody services, with the prospect of extending it to other cryptocurrencies. It would not offer advice on these types of investments, the statement said.

BBVA elaborated that during a gradual introduction it had detected a "significant desire" among investors for crypto-assets or digital assets to diversify their portfolios despite their notorios volatility and high risk. The trading service comes amid growing institutional interest in bitcoin asstets. The largest cryptocurrency is seen by investors and some companies as a hedge against inflation as governments and central banks release stimulus packages.

El Salvador became the world's first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender even though central banks globally have repeatedly warned that investors in the cryptocurrency must be ready to lose all their money. Major economies, including China and US, have signaled in recent weeks a tougher approach, while planning to develop their own central bank digital currencies.

BBVA said it was limiting this new cryptocurrency service to Switzerland because the country has clear regulation and widespread adoption of digital assets. BBVA is present in Switzerland through a fully owned franchise, focused on international banking services.

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