BBVA announced on December 9 that it is currently in the deployment of tests for the launch of sale and custody services for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, starting in January 2021.
The news was released through a statement published on the bank’s official website, which confirms the statements made a few days ago by an unidentified source to a media outlet.
In its note the bank indicates that in principle only transactions and accounts with bitcoin will be managed, for being the most accepted cryptocurrency, but plans to expand the offer to other crypto assets later.
In this way, the service will be implemented progressively. Although it does not explain how the system will work, the entity promises to offer the same guarantees that are granted to other financial assets, “with a simple and transparent system.” It also warns that investment advice will not be provided.
With this integration, BBVA intends to respond to the growing demand from highly knowledgeable investors who operate with cryptocurrencies and use the services of numerous FinTech companies and startups.
In addition, it represents a new offer in the market that allows clients to invest and combine traditional and digital financial assets in the same investment portfolio.
Bitcoin operations will be carried out from Switzerland
In its note, the financial institution ensures that the commercialization and custody of bitcoin will be offered through the subsidiary BBVA Switzerland. The idea is to take advantage of the most advanced regulatory framework that exists in that country, which also has a high level of adoption of cryptocurrencies.
In that sense, the bank recalls the number of blockchain companies that are based in Switzerland, which is why it sees the European country as a conducive environment for its operations with crypto assets.
In its publication, the second largest bank in Spain admits that the changes that have been taking place in recent years, in terms of regulation and in the evolution of blockchain, provide a clearer picture of the ecosystem. Therefore, he thinks that “this is the appropriate time to trade crypto assets.”
However, the entity recognizes that its interest in blockchain dates back about 5 years. Consequently, it highlights the potential of digital assets to change the way value is exchanged through the blockchain.
“Financial institutions, in collaboration with supervisors, can play a relevant role in the integration of digital assets in current markets and infrastructures.”
Alicia Pertusa, Head of Client Solution Strategy at BBVA.
This interest of BBVA was evident since 2018, when it proposed to create spaces for innovation to experiment with new financial technologies.
That same year, the bank’s platform was used for the first time to operate renewable lines of credit with blockchain. More recently, BBVA joined Santander, Bankia, Sabadell and CaixaBank participating in a test for the automation of payments with smart contracts.