Spain’s second largest bank, BBVA, is introducing new business to private banking clients of its Swiss arm, which, in addition to Bitcoin trading and custody services, will also allow investments in alternative digital assets in the future.
The banking giant, which was founded in 1857 and has about $870 billion in assets, first tested the service late last year. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) has recorded a ‘huge demand’ for digital assets among investors. festival. According to the big bank, the asset class is mainly used by investors to diversify their investment portfolios, despite the high volatility and risks.
It was initially launched in Switzerland
At the moment, the services are limited to Bitcoin (BTC), and in the future BBVA plans to expand it to other digital currencies. However, the bank will not provide investment advice for crypto assets. In addition, the BBVA is restricting new cryptocurrency services in Switzerland because the country has clear regulations and widespread adoption of digital assets.
“We are bringing quality banking services to the still young world of crypto assets. With this innovative offering, BBVA is positioning itself as the reference institution for the adoption of blockchain technology. In the coming months, we will continue to improve and expand the digital asset offering.” – Alfonso Gomez, CEO, BBVA Schweiz
The major Spanish bank has its own branch in Switzerland, which focuses on international banking. Expansion into new countries or other clients will depend on whether the cryptocurrency markets meet the right conditions in terms of maturity, demand and regulation.
Institutional demand for Bitcoin
BBVA is not the first major bank to deal with Bitcoin & Co. for a few months. As early as December 2020, JPMorgan noticed a growing institutional interest in the cryptocurrency. In particular, companies with a direct link to digitization such as MicroStrategy or Square have emerged. But insurers like MassMutual have also dedicated first-timers and hedge funds that take on risk at the forefront.
In response to the growing demand, countless major banks, particularly in the United States, have provided services to the asset class. In March, Morgan Stanley became the first existing bank to offer a Bitcoin fund to its clients. Goldman Sachs quickly followed suit with an announcement, and JPMorgan is said to be under review for its own product.