On Monday (22 October 2018), Swissquote, the first pure online bank in Switzerland, announced that it had become the first bank in the world to offer its clients the opportunity to participate in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
Swissquote Group Holding Ltd was founded in May 2000, and later that year, Swissquote Bank Ltd obtained a banking license. In September 2013, by acquiring Swiss online broker MIG Bank (a major player in the Forex markets), it became "one of the world’s top ten online currency trading service providers."
Swissquote says that it is proud to have become the first bank to allow customers to take part in ICOs "conveniently in a secure environment against fiat currency" without needing to know much about blockchain technology or even owning a crypto wallet. The bank will "take care of the execution of the orders and the custody of the tokens" for its clients. Swissquote will offer its clients only those ICOs that it believes are "mature projects, ready to be launched," and that it will "review who the management is, what the business is, what the financials are and what the legal situation is."
For the first ICO to become available on its trading platform, Swissquote has chosen Swiss blockchain startup LakeDiamond, a spin-off of the EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne), that designs and builds Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) reactors that are able to grow in its laboratories ultra pure diamonds (less than 1 nitrogen atom in every billion carbon atoms) that are suitable for "the most demanding applications both in the jewellery and high-tech sectors."
LakeDiamond is doing a token (LKD) sale in order to raise funds to buy 50 more CVD reactors so that it can ramp up its production capacity. Swissquote says the LKD tokens "grant a 'right of use' to grow diamonds for a defined amount of time," and they are "the first time-based payment tokens allowing the production of physical assets"
What Swissquote is doing at this stage is a pre-sale (running from October 22 until December 11) of LKD tokens since the actual public ICO is set to start sometime in January 2019. Clients participating now get a 10% bonus (one free token for each ten that they purchase).
Marc Bürki, the CEO of Swissquote, said:
“True to our philosophy to democratise finance by offering services that are simple and accessible to everyone, we are now offering our clients the opportunity to help grow start-ups. Combining crowdfunding with the blockchain creates a new form of fundraising. Thanks to contributions starting at 33 Swiss francs, clients can participate without being required to invest large sums into venture capital or private equity funds."
The CEO of LakeDiamond, Pascal Gallo, added:
“LakeDiamond has developed and continues to develop its cutting-edge technology combining lab-grown ultra-pure diamonds and high end industrial applications. With its ICO, LakeDiamond is seeking to accelerate its growth and is delighted to be the first company using the new ICO services offered by Swissquote.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Swissquote