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US Spot Bitcoin ETFs Daily Trading Volume Soars to 6 Billion USD

March 1, 2024

Ten newly launched US spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) broke their daily volume records on February 28, 2024, totaling nearly US$7.7 billion worth of assets being traded on that day alone, data shared on X by James Seyffart, an ETF analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, reveal.
The figure represents a staggering 63.8% increase from their previous peak of US$4.7 billion from their first day of trading on January 11, 2024, and demonstrates booming interest from investors in the new asset class.
BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin ETF (IBIT) is emerging as the clear winner, leading the group with US$3.4 billion traded on February 28 through with nearly 97 million shares traded. IBIT is followed by Grayscale Bitcoin Trust BTC (GBTC) with US$1.9 billion and 34 million

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SNB Study: Results of the Swiss Payment Methods Survey

February 27, 2024

In spring 2023, the Swiss National Bank conducted its second payment methods survey of companies in Switzerland.
Around 1,750 companies, across all sizes, language regions and industries, participated in this survey on payment method topics. In-depth knowledge of these topics helps the SNB to fulfil its statutory tasks in relation to the supply and distribution of cash and to cashless payments.

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The most important findings of the payment methods survey of companies are as follows:
Companies are creating a good basis for freedom of choice between cash and cashless payment methods in everyday transactions by accepting a wide range of payment methods. Since the last survey in 2021, companies have tended to broaden their payment method acceptance. In particular,

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UBS Issues Hong Kong’s First Investment-Grade Tokenised Warrant on Ethereum

February 15, 2024

UBS has launched Hong Kong’s first investment-grade tokenised warrant, leveraging the Ethereum public blockchain. This product is part of the bank’s UBS Tokenise initiative, aimed at advancing its in-house tokenisation services.
The product is a call warrant with Xiaomi Corporation as the underlying stock. The tokenised warrant is also reportedly the first natively issued warrant on a public blockchain that was sold to OSL Digital Securities Limited, a licensed virtual asset platform operator and wholly-owned subsidiary of OSL Group (formerly BC Technology Group).
Tokenised warrants are distinguished by enhanced accessibility, efficiency, and transparency. They enable investors to access digital structured products through blockchain technology, which facilitates

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New SNB Study Reveals Critical Role of Card Schemes and Banks in the Contactless Payment Usage

January 12, 2024

Financial intermediaries, including card schemes and issuing banks, are playing a critical role in the use and promotion of new payment methods in Switzerland. A 2023 research by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) revealed that the rules and standards set by these intermediaries are impacting usage and frequency of contactless payments.
The findings, shared in a new report titled “Consumer adoption and use of financial technology: “tap and go” payments”, are based on an analysis of anonymized, transaction-level data for more than 400,000 payment cards and almost 18,000 merchants in Switzerland between 2019 and 2021. The study looked at data retrieved during four different periods, comparing contactless payment usage in 2019 (Base period), during the weeks immediately

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Swiss-Backed CBDC Project Explored Feasibility of Cash-Like, Anonymous Digital Currency

December 21, 2023

Project Tourbillon, an initiative led by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub Swiss Centre and supported by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), explored the feasibility of a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC), finding that it is possible to implement a CBDC design that provides anonymity to the payer and which is scalable and secure.
In a new report released in November 2023, BIS shares details of the project, outlining findings of their efforts.
Project Tourbillon, which had been running since at least late-2022, saw the development and testing of two CBDC prototypes based on the eCash design by American computer scientist, cryptographer and inventor David Chaum.
These prototypes were designed to address three features simultaneously:

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Miles & More and qiibee Transform Loyalty Rewards with Blockchain

December 14, 2023

Miles & More, the loyalty program of the Lufthansa Group, has partnered with blockchain-based B2B marketplace qiibee to allow small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) to join the program easily.
The key highlight of this collaboration is the integration of blockchain technology, which simplifies the onboarding process for SMEs while ensuring the secure and efficient management of loyalty rewards.
qiibee’s blockchain-based marketplace offers instant, cost-effective transactions and guarantees full data privacy control. Through this integration, Miles & More members gain access to a broader and more diverse network of partners, including regional businesses.
The partnership also aims to enhance connectivity between enterprises and customers, with plans to onboard more

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Robinhood Crypto Trading App Arrives in EU, Offers Bitcoin Rewards

December 11, 2023

Robinhood is set to make a significant stride in the European Union by launching the Robinhood Crypto app for all eligible customers in the region. The company claims that the app is the only custodial crypto platform in the EU where customers can earn a portion of their trading volume back every month in Bitcoin (BTC).
In an effort to drive new users, Robinhood Crypto is offering a unique opportunity for both new and existing customers. New customers are eligible to earn up to one Bitcoin when they open a Robinhood Crypto account and trade a minimum amount of €10 in crypto. Similarly, existing customers can earn up to one Bitcoin for every referred friend who successfully opens an account and trades a minimum €10 worth of crypto.
Johann Kerbrat
Johann Kerbrat,

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Societe Generale Issues Digital Green Bond on Public Blockchain

December 7, 2023

End of November Societe Generale issued its first digital green bond as a Security Token directly registered by SG-FORGE on the Ethereum public blockchain with increased transparency and traceability on ESG data. 
Security tokens have been fully subscribed AXA Investment Managers and Generali Investments, through a private placement.

This transaction is the first digital green bond issued by Societe Generale to leverage blockchain’s differentiating functionalities. This digital format enables increased transparency and traceability as well as improved fluidity and speed in transactions and settlements.
This operation is structured as a EUR 10m senior preferred unsecured bond with a maturity of 3 years. An amount equivalent to the net proceeds of this bond will

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After Zug and Zermatt, Now You Can Pay Taxes Also in Lugano with Bitcoins

December 7, 2023

The Swiss city of Lugano announced that it has broadened its payment options by including cryptocurrencies for the payment of tax invoices and all other community fees.
Lugano will accept Bitcoin (BTC) and Tether (USDT) as a means of payment through a simple and fully automated process.
The new payment option introduced by the City of Lugano marks a modern shift in how people handle city-related expenses. Citizens and companies alike may now use Bitcoin (BTC) and Tether (USDT) to pay any invoice issued by Lugano, including tax invoices. While cryptocurrency payments in Lugano were reserved for transactions made on the City’s online portal, Lugano is now extending this possibility to all its invoices, regardless of the nature of the service or the amount invoiced.

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Swiss National Bank Launches Wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency Project

December 4, 2023

On 1 December 2023, the Swiss National Bank – together with five Swiss and one German commercial bank – started a pilot project with central bank digital currency for financial institutions (wholesale central bank digital currency) on the regulated platform of SIX Digital Exchange (SDX).
With this pilot, called Helvetia Phase III, the SNB will for the first time issue real wholesale CBDC in Swiss francs on a financial market infrastructure based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). The SNB is thus moving its work from test environments into production and is making wholesale CBDC available for the settlement of real bond transactions. The banks involved will carry out the transactions on the DLT platform as intermediaries for issuers and investors. The

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DZ BANK startet eigene Crypto Verwahrung

November 3, 2023

Deutschland’s DZ BANK hat eine neue Plattform für die Abwicklung und Verwahrung digitaler Finanzinstrumente in Betrieb genommen.
Damit gehört das genossenschaftliche Institut zu den ersten Kreditinstituten, die auf Basis der Blockchain-Technologie ein solches Angebot für institutionelle Kunden auf den Weg gebracht haben. Die DZ BANK ist mit einem Volumen von über 300 Mrd. EUR nach BNP Paribas und State Street die drittgrößte Verwahrstelle in Deutschland, unter den deutschen Verwahrstellen ist sie die größte.
Holger Meffert
„Wir gehen davon aus, dass innerhalb der nächsten zehn Jahre wesentliche Anteile des Kapitalmarktgeschäfts über Distributed Ledger Technologie (DLT) basierte Infrastrukturen abgewickelt werden. Auf mittelfristige Sicht sehen wir die DLT als

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Swiss National Bank Launches Pilot Project With CBDC for Financial Institutions

November 3, 2023

On 1 December 2023, the Swiss National Bank – together with six commercial banks – will start a pilot project with central bank digital currency for financial institutions (wholesale CBDC) on the regulated platform of SIX Digital Exchange (SDX).
With this pilot, called Helvetia Phase III, the SNB will for the first time issue real wholesale CBDC in Swiss francs on a financial market infrastructure based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). The SNB is thus moving its work from test environments into production and is making wholesale CBDC available for the settlement of real bond transactions. The banks involved will carry out the transactions on the DLT platform as intermediaries for issuers and investors. The tokenised bonds will be settled against wholesale

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Postfinance E-Commerce setzt auf Worldline’s Crypto Payment Lösung

October 31, 2023

Worldline hat in der Schweiz mit Postfinance einen wichtigen Schweizer Kunden gewonnen. Die Zahllösung Worldline Crypto Payments wird ab sofort in der E-Commerce Lösung von Postfinance angeboten.
In der E-Commerce-Lösung von PostFinance „Checkout Flex“ kann zukünftig auch mit Bitcoin und Ethereum, über das Bitcoin-Lightning-Netzwerk sowie mit den Stablecoins USDC und USDT bezahlt werden.
Bereits seit zwei Jahren bietet Worldline die Zahllösung Worldline Crypto Payments schweizweit an. Die Lösung für lokale Händler und Onlineshops wird von Worldline in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Finanzdienstleister Bitcoin Suisse offeriert.
Der Händler muss sich dabei nicht um die Verwaltung der akzeptierten Kryptowährungen kümmern. Diese werden umgehend in Schweizer Franken

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Zuger Kantonalbank Launches Crypto Asset Trading and Storage

October 3, 2023

The first cantonal bank to offer clients straightforward trading and secure storage of the most common cryptocurrencies. The offering complements its existing investment services and is delivered within a fully regulated banking environment.
As of today, Zuger Kantonalbank clients are able to invest in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin, Polygon and Uniswap. The digital assets can be bought, traded and stored simply and conveniently via the bank’s e-banking or mobile banking services, and are traded in US dollars. Trading takes place from Monday to Friday, between 1.30 a.m. and 10.00 p.m. Naturally, the offering is available to new clients as well.
Hanspeter Rhyner
“For some time now, we’ve seen that the growing demand for cryptocurrencies

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UBS Asset Management Launches First Blockchain-Native Tokenized VCC Fund Pilot in Singapore

October 3, 2023

UBS Asset Management has launched its first live pilot of a tokenized Variable Capital Company (VCC) fund. The fund is part of a wider VCC umbrella designed to bring various “real world assets” on-chain as part of Project Guardian, a collaborative industry initiative led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Thomas Kaegi
Thomas Kaegi, Head UBS Asset Management, Singapore & Southeast Asia, said:
“This is a key milestone in understanding the tokenization of funds, building on UBS’s expertise in tokenizing bonds and structured products. Through this exploratory initiative, we will work with traditional financial institutions and fintech providers to help understand how to improve market liquidity and market access for clients.”
Utilizing the firm’s in-house

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New Study Sheds Light on Crypto’s Super-Rich

October 2, 2023

Over the past decade, the rise of cryptocurrency has created a new class of millionaires and billionaires. The early adopters, investors, business founders, and more broadly, those who bought in early and held onto their investments, became extremely rich, accumulating massive wealth as prices soared.
A new report by wealth and investment migration specialists Henley and Partners, released on September 05, 2023, shares insights into the state of crypto wealth, providing exclusive statistics on crypto and bitcoin millionaires, centi-millionaires, and billionaires.
According to the report, the total market value of crypto stood at around US$1.2 trillion in July 2023. The market had about 425 million users with around 0.02% of these crypto users, or 88,200 crypto

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Switzerland Sees Blossoming Digital Asset Custody Ecosystem: Study

August 4, 2023

Switzerland has established itself as a global leader in the custody of digital assets, a position the country has gained thanks to a conducive regulatory framework that’s encouraging innovation and diversity, a new report by industry trade group Home of Blockchain.swiss says.
The Swiss Digital Asset Custody Report 2023, released in June, provides an overview of the digital asset custody landscape in Switzerland, focusing on the services offered by various providers, their licensing status, and the types of storage they use.
In particular, the report highlights the innovation and diversity of the Swiss digital asset custody ecosystem, which includes various business models and providers ranging from technology companies to universal banks.
According to the report,

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Bank of China and UBS Issue First Fully Digital Tokenized Structured Notes in Hong Kong

June 16, 2023

BOCI (Bank of China) has successfully issued CNH 200 million fully digital structured notes, making it the first Chinese financial institution to issue a tokenized security in Hong Kong. The product was originated by UBS and placed to its clients in Asia Pacific, marking a long-term collaboration between BOCI and UBS in the space of digital structured notes.
UBS had issued a USD 50 million tokenized fixed rate note in December 2022 under English and Swiss law, digitized on a permissioned blockchain.
By issuing these digital securities, both BOCI and UBS have taken new steps in terms of applicable law and blockchain types. This transaction marks the first product of its kind in Asia Pacific constituted under Hong Kong and Swiss law and tokenized on the main

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Blockchain Zug Initiative sichert sich vom Kanton 40 Millionen CHF

June 14, 2023

Der Zuger Regierungsrat will sich während fünf Jahren mit total 39,35 Millionen an den Aufbaukosten der «Blockchain Zug – Joint Research Initiative», einem gemeinsamen innovativen Projekt der Universität Luzern und der Hochschule Luzern, beteiligen. Dadurch wird das Crypto-Valley international zum Zentrum für die Blockchain-Forschung.
Der Regierungsrat beantragt dem Kantonsrat die Gründung eines Zuger Instituts an der Universität Luzern mit neun Lehrstühlen und eine Verstärkung der bisherigen Forschungsaktivitäten an der Hochschule Luzern. Zudem wird eine Kooperations- und Kommunikationsplattform, ein sogenannter Hub, geschaffen.
Zug als führendes Zentrum für Blockchain-Technologie
Taennler-Heinz
Mit der vom Kanton unterstützten Initiative soll Zug zu einem

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Illicit Crypto Volume Reaches All-Time High Despite Markets Slump

June 12, 2023

In spite of a market downturn and a prolonged “crypto winter”, the volume of illicit cryptocurrency transactions continued to rise in 2022, reaching an all-time high of US$20.6 billion, new data released by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis show.
Total cryptocurrency value received by illicit addresses, 2017-2022, Source: The 2023 Crypto Crime Report, Chainalysis
The sum represents a 13.8% increase from the previous all-time high of US$18.1 billion recorded in 2021, and comes despite a market slump that saw total capitalization plummeting by more than 60%. Total market capitalization started off the year 2022 at US$2.2 trillion to hit an annual low of US$810 million in December.
The price of bitcoin fell by more than 75% in 2021, dropping from an all-time high

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Formula 1 Sponsorship Deals with Blockchain Companies Shrink Amid Crypto Scandals and Bear Market

June 7, 2023

After a buoyant year 2022, sponsorship deals with blockchain and cryptocurrency companies for the Formula One (F1) race are shrinking this year on the back of high-profile collapses and turbulent markets.
A Bloomberg analysis found that while all teams had at least one crypto-native sponsors in 2022, that proportion declined to 70% this year, as of June. The trend suggests that F1 may be re-evaluating its ties with the crypto industry amid the FTX scandal and a prolonged “crypto winter”.
Mercedes-AMG signed in 2021 a sponsorship agreement with now bankrupt FTX but the deal was suspended last year when the exchange shut down. Mercedes team principal Torger Christian Wolff said in a statement that the collapse of FTX has left Mercedes in “utter disbelief” and that

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30 Must-Attend Sessions at Money20/20 Europe 2023

June 6, 2023

Money20/20, one of the world’s largest fintech event series, is coming back on June 06-08 at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre in Amsterdam for its annual European edition.
This year’s event is expected to host over 300 industry-leading speakers, including visionary executives from global banks like HSBC, Barclays, and J.P. Morgan; trailblazing fintech companies like GoCardless, Stripe, and Plum; as well as representatives from national and supranational European governments.
This diverse roster of speakers will be dissecting the myriad of challenges faced by players in the industry, tackling topics such as the impact of the cryptocurrency crackdown, the new frontiers of generative artificial intelligence (AI), forthcoming European regulations, and ways to

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Swiss Banks Unlikely to Migrate to Blockchain, DLT Systems, Says SNB Advisor

June 2, 2023

While some banks have started experimenting with blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), widespread migration to these systems are unlikely to occur due to a number of roadblocks, including regulatory and compliance challenges, the high costs of the endeavor, as well as uncertainties about the long-term benefits and potential disruption of the technology on existing business models, Benjamin Müller, an advisor on banking operations for the Swiss National Bank (SNB), said during an industry event last month.
At the Digital Monetary Institute symposium, held on May 10 and 11 in London, Müller took part in a panel discussion that brought together top executives representing Banque de France, Goldman Sachs, Clifford Change and SNB. The panel discussed

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Kanton Zug Increases Maximum Tax Payment Amount With Cryptos to CHF 1.5 Million

May 22, 2023

The Canton of Zug is increasing the transaction limit for tax payments with the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Ether from CHF 100,000 to CHF 1.5 million with immediate effect. This measure will facilitate access to digital means of payment and meet the increasing needs of Zug’s population and companies.
Heinz Tännler
“We are proud that the Canton of Zug has been a pioneer in the use of cryptocurrencies for years. With the increase in the transaction limit, we are setting another example of the acceptance and spread of this innovative payment method,”
says Finance Director Heinz Tännler.
Since the introduction of crypto payment options, tax payments with a total volume of around CHF 2 million have been settled in Bitcoin and Ether in around 150 transactions in the

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Frankfurt University Forms Master in Blockchain & Digital Assets

May 10, 2023

Frankfurt School of Finance Center and its Blockchain center designed a new four semester long post-experience master program (MSc) last year. The Frankfurt School’s goal is to provide the expert knowledge necessary to students looking to shape and lead blockchain innovation around the globe and in all industries.
Technical and economical understanding on the topics of blockchain, digital assets (including Bitcoin and Ethereum), DeFi, Web3, tokenization, smart contracts, NFTs, financial technology, metaverse, digital euro, CBDCs, legal frameworks and entrepreneurship are part of the curriculum that is taught in seven block weeks and further deepened during the students’ master thesis. Application deadline is autumn 2023, and lectures will commence in October

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User Authentication Enters New Era, Enabled by Biometrics, Blockchain, AI

April 26, 2023

Technological advancements, including biometrics, blockchain, encryption and artificial intelligence (AI), are fueling the advent of more efficient and secure authentication mechanisms.
New methods and trends including passworldless authentication are already seeing significant traction from customers, which perceive them as not only more convenient than traditional authentication methods but also more reliable, a study by Entrust, an authentication specialist, found.
The Future of Identity Report, released in March, shares findings of a global survey of 1,450 consumers across 12 countries, aiming to shed light on the identity market and identify emerging trends.
While passwords have traditionally been the most popular means of primary authentication, results from

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SweePay and SMART VALOR Brings Crypto to Masses at National Railways, Retailers

April 19, 2023

The Swiss crypto exchange SMART VALOR and the financial intermediary SweePay has partnered to ensure that the purchase of cryptocurrencies at Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) ticket machines is simple, smooth and secure.
Since 2016, it has been possible to buy crypto at the 1,500 (expected number of ticket machines as of 2023) ticket machines of the SBB.
At the SBB ticket machines, users will receive their Bitcoin in a secure paper wallet when they buy the crypto. They will need to enter the desired amount (between CHF 20 and CHF 500), input their mobile phone number and confirm the TAN sent to the machine. The machine then prints out the paper wallet with the crypto amount purchased.
Additionally, SMART VALOR and SweePay have also enabled the purchase of crypto at

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Swiss Central Bank Payment Vision Outlining Focus on DLT, Tokenization and Instant Payments

April 13, 2023

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has shared how it intends to “future-proof” the domestic payment ecosystem, outlining its ambition to leverage technologies and processes including tokenization and distributed ledger technology (DLT) to establish an “efficient, reliable and secure ecosystem” that’s geared towards “the future of cashless payments in Switzerland,” SNB governing board member, Andréa Maechler, said during an event on March 30, 2023.
The payment system is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by ongoing digitalization and the increasing use of new technologies, Maechler told the audience in her speech at the semi-annual Money Market event. These are enabling new forms of money and are fundamentally changing the way people make payments.
Thomas

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The Top 3 European Wealthtech Trends

April 6, 2023

By 2030, affluent clients with assets of EUR 100,000 and up will have access to a highly diversified range of alternative assets comprising private debt, venture capital (VC), real assets, and more. They will benefit from highly personalized financial plans and advice, enabled by automation technology and data analytics. Additionally, advanced digital platforms and features like portfolio aggregation will provide them with a more frictionless experience.
These are the three main trends outlined in Wealthtech Radar 2023, a paper produced by German wealthtech software provider Fincite. The paper, which draws on insights from more than 20 experts organizations such as InVenture Capital, the University of Munich, the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center, Sprengnetter

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Incore Bank Signs Maerki Baumann as First Client For SDX Ethereum Staking

April 5, 2023

InCore Bank can now offer Ethereum staking capabilities that are fully compliant with Know-Your-Client (KYC) and Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) regulations to their clients.
In this collaboration, InCore Bank provides crypto brokerage, banking operations and custody services, while SDX Web3 provides crypto custody and non-custodial-staking services.
The Zurich-based private bank Maerki Baumann launched its crypto strategy in 2019. Apart from corporate accounts for companies focusing on blockchain technology and crypto applications, it offers services in crypto trading and custody in collaboration with InCore Bank. Maerki Baumann will continue to expand its crypto offering by making the new Ethereum staking services available to its private and corporate tech banking

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