Santander Private Banking International just made an abrupt U-turn on its cryptocurrency policies. It’s only been a year since the financial institution’s UK arm banned any transactions involving these digital assets, but now, reports say that it’s allowing high-net-worth clients in Switzerland to hold and trade Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
Santander’s Expansion in the Crypto Market
Citing an internal document as primary source, Coindesk says Banco Santander’s subsidiary in Switzerland is expanding its services to cryptocurrency users that meet the bank’s screening criteria in the coming months.
To avail, clients have to make a request to Santander’s relationship managers. If qualified, the bank takes custody of the customer’s assets, which are protected by private keys.
The move of Santander in Switzerland shows a deviation from the practices of many traditional banks, which tend to favor tokenization to keep them out of harm’s way from the risks posed by exposure in public blockchains and cryptocurrencies.
Santander’s Head of Crypto and Digital Assets John Whelan commented via an email to Coindesk that Swiss crypto regulations are among the pioneers and most advanced in the industry because of its clarity and comprehensiveness. Thus, he believes it aligns with their clients’ demands.
“As holding of crypto as an alternative asset class continues to expand, we expect that our clients prefer to rely on their existing financial institutions to be responsible for their assets,” Whelan added.
Banco Santander is already more than one and a half century old and manages over 166 million customers. Among them are 210,000 affluent clients with around $315 billion in assets and deposits. The bank is ranked 49th in the prestigious Forbes Global 2000 list of the world’s largest companies.
Earlier Stand of Santander Bank UK Towards Crypto
This report comes as a surprise because it should be recalled that Santander Bank UK has set a ban on customers making payments to crypto exchanges or converting their money to these digital assets in 2022. The institution explained the decision was meant to prevent its clients from being scammed.
As of November last year, the financial powerhouse restricted sending funds to crypto exchanges by only £1,000 per transaction, not withdrawals. It also indicated tougher rules in dealing with crypto exchanges, banning Binance along the way but eventually retracting its pronouncement.
Bitcoin and Ether Now
The news seems to have little to no effect on the two major cryptocurrencies in the market. As of this writing, Bitcoin is priced at $37,364 showing a slight nudge by 26% over the daily chart. However, the volume of trades within the frame displayed over 32% increase from the previous day as the most dominant crypto in the market pivoted between a $36,883 low and $37,757 high.
Meanwhile, Ether’s value is merely down by 0.91% to $2,015.86, exhibiting 30% rise in trading volume within the period. The price performance of the secondary crypto by market dominance is between a low of $2004 and high of $2,066 in that span.