On Monday (January 14th), highly respected private Swiss bank Vontobel announced the launch of a custody solution for digital assets called "Digital Asset Vault."
Here is how Vontobel announced the news on Twitter:
Vontobel Investment Banking proves its power of innovation with today’s launch of Digital Asset Vault, the first custody and execution solution for digital assets. #VontobelNews https://t.co/KW5JdRM6yM— Vontobel (@Vontobel) January 14, 2019
Zurich-based Vontobel says in its press release that their new offering allows "financial intermediaries such as banks, asset managers and wealth managers" to "provide their clients with an end-to-end service offering for digital assets" via "a simple connection," and that this means "clients can issue instructions for the purchase, custody and transfer of digital assets easily and securely within the banking infrastructure – like with traditional asset classes."
Vontobel points out that "until now, no traditional custodian in the market offered a solution that met the security standards required by financial intermediaries for the custody of digital assets and provided end-to-end services." Their crypto custody solution is "based on Hardware Security Mode (HSM) technology and is integrated into its own banking infrastructure." It also claims that with the Digital Asset Vault it has become "the first bank in the world to offer the usual industry standards of quality within the established and regulated environment."
Here is Vontobel's list of features for their Digital Asset Vault:
- "Digital Asset Vault is an alternative for personally registering with providers of digital assets and the custody of the same. The holding of private keys is no longer required."
- "Clients can buy, sell or transfer digital assets by issuing instructions to their regular bank, with global and best execution."
- "A consolidated overview of traditional and digital assets and asset classes is included in the client’s statement of assets, thus providing a clearer list for tax purposes."
Roger Studer, the Head of Vontobel Investment Banking, had this to say:
"Digital Asset Vault represents the logical next step in the development of our range of services for digital assets. With our innovative strength and experience, we have thus closed the gap between existing and digital assets. By incorporating digital assets into our own banking infrastructure, we have also become the first provider to already meet the high standards required by financial intermediaries and their regulators."
Vontobel is "the third-largest provider of B2B services in Switzerland in the area of custody and execution, Vontobel currently supplies MiFID II-compliant services to over 100 banks and wealth managers, resulting in 12 million securities transactions per year."
It is worth mentioning that this is not Vontobel's first exposure to crypto. On 6 July, Swiss news outlet Neuer Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ) reported that Vontobel's exchange-traded product (ETP), a Bitcoin (BTC) certificate, which was launched in 2016, was a favorite with traders on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
Geneva-based FinTech startup Taurus Group ("Taurus") was quick to announce that Vontobel was using its one-year-old digital assets custody platform "TAURUS-PROTECT":
Taurus is proud to announce that its TAURUS-PROTECT digital asset custody solution is live and entrusted by the most sophisticated financial institutions, making it the leading storage solution in Switzerland.— Taurus Group (@taurusgroup_ch) January 14, 2019
thanks to bank @Vontobel for your trust.https://t.co/WmVtsMCnoT
Taurus' press release says:
"Less than one year after the launch of its first version, TAURUS -PROTECT has become a leading digital assets custody platform . It was developed by Taurus for its own needs and those of institutional clients. The platform is already in production with several leading financial institutions, including Bank Vontobel AG, one of the most experienced and sophisticated European banks in the area of digital assets and cryptocurrencies."
TAURUS-PROTECT is "an on-premise solution that uses FIPS 140-2 level 3 certified hardware security modules (HSMs), some of the most secure hardware s in the world," and "has been developed internally by Taurus."
Sébastien Dessimoz, a founding member of Taurus Group, said:
“The implementation of highly reliable custody solutions for digital assets is a key success factor for the next generation financial markets infrastructure that is blockchain-based. TAURUS-PROTECT is since day one compliant with the most stringent Swiss and international regulations allowing, among others, banks to custody client assets in a fully segregated manner without impact on their capital ratios. It integrates easily and offers a full suite of risk management, treasury and analytics features that answer the most sophisticated requirements."
Vontobel's entry into the cryto custody space has been welcome by prominet members of the crypto community on Twitter:
- Adam Back, Co-Founder and CEO of Blockstream:
I am thinking @Vontobel maybe largest, highest credit rating, old/stable/conservative & international reach to actually provide. Partnerships are good, but financial services to clients are the result. Comparatively Frick are small $4bil AUM, new,. Can't find their credit rating.— Adam Back (@adam3us) January 14, 2019
- Gabor Gurbacs, Director of Digital Asset Strategy at VanEck/MVIS:
Yes, @Vontobel is the most established international bank that announced intention to custody digital assets physically. They were early with the Bitcoin ETN and continue to push forward. Agreed with @adam3us, service to financial clients is most important. Great development!— Gabor Gurbacs (@gaborgurbacs) January 14, 2019
- Mati Greenspan, Senior Market Analyst at EToro:
The Swiss continue to lead the way to the integration of cryptoassets into the traditional finance sector. 🇨🇭👏🚀https://t.co/Q2jqzMy8yy— Mati Greenspan (@MatiGreenspan) January 14, 2019
Featured Image Courtesy of Vontobel