Swiss Bank Set to Sell Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies to Customers

Jessica Miley

A Swiss Bank is set to offer its customer the chance to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as part of a plan to expand its digital asset management service.  

Falcon Private Bank will allow account holders to buy and hold Bitcoin as part of a collaboration with brokerage service Bitcoin Suisse. The news was revealed after the bank sat down to discuss the matter with Swiss financial regulators.  

The bank will also offer services around Ether, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Bank customers can start to buy and deposit the cryptocurrencies after August 22.  

The first bank to offer Bitcoin directly to its clients

The bank launched its Bitcoin service just over a month ago and is already expanding to other currencies. Falcon Private is the first traditional bank to announce such a deliberate move into the cryptocurrency market.  

Bitcoin Suisse CEO Niklas Nikolajsen made a statement, saying "Falcon Private Bank was the first bank to offer Bitcoin directly to its clients, and thus created history. Their decision to follow up by adding Ether as well as other crypto-assets has made them the go-to private bank for crypto-asset holders and investors."

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been making headlines recently first as prominent wall street analysts predicted huge surges in their value and then as Bitcoin forked to create Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin has risen over 70% in value in the last month.  

A brief history of Bitcoin

Bitcoin was launched by Neal King, Vladimir Oksman, and Charles Bry in August 2008. The trio registered the domain name and filed for an encryption patent. In October 2009, the currency was valued by the New Liberty Standard at $1 = 1,309 BTC.

The currency's value falls and rises with the market and in response to several serious hacks of the Bitcoin blockchain. In June 2013 the first major theft is reported. In March 2013, the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) released a guidance report for people administering or exchanging virtual currency. This is now considered the first piece of cryptocurrency legislation. In December 2013, China barred banks from using the digital currency. The People’s Bank of China claimed Bitcoin is not a currency with “real meaning”. Today China is a leader of Bitcoin transactions with more than 80% of the world's transactions originating in China.

In June 2014, the drug selling website Silk Road was shut down. Bitcoin gained legitimacy as a safe, secure and transparent method of ‘money’ transfer. More than 29,000 seized bitcoins were auctioned by US authorities following the dissolution of Silk Road. In the next few years, Bitcoin remained steady with some notable investments and backing from large corporations.  

In June this year independent stock research analyst Ronnie Moas released a 122-page report on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies predicting the currencies will surge by 80% in the next year. Since the report, Bitcoin has already increased in value more than 70%. Moas states, "In my view, the genie is out of the bottle, and cryptocurrencies will continue to rise and take market share away from stocks, other precious metals, bonds and currencies.” The report encourages investors to take the risk with the new financial concept, saying "I think investors should take a shot on this and hold for a few years. If you lose a few bucks, at least you took a shot. In life, you miss every shot that you do not take. It will probably be more upsetting to watch it (from the sidelines) go up another 1,000%."