The world’s largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, has long had the first-mover advantage, as it has been the chosen asset for financial institutions wishing to enter the crypto-verse. In a break from the norm, Banco Bilbao (NYSE: BBVA) Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA (MC: BBVA)), the Swiss division of the Spanish banking giant, has announced the addition of Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, to its product portfolio.
BBVA Switzerland bank in Europe to offer Ethereum
🇨🇭 BBVA Suiza da un nuevo paso con la incorporación de los #ether a la cartera de inversiones de sus clientes. 🪙 pic.twitter.com/dlW7l4H32S
— BBVA (@bbva) December 13, 2021
BBVA Switzerland has become the first traditional bank in Europe to include Ethereum in its service by expanding its crypto offering. In June 2020, the financial behemoth began offering cryptocurrency services to its customers, including Bitcoin. Investors’ desire to diversify their portfolios drove the move, according to Alfonso Gomez, CEO of BBVA Switzerland.
He explains; “We decided to add Ether to our crypto-asset ‘wallet’ because, together with bitcoin, they are the protocols that spark the most interest among investors while also offering all the guarantees to comply with the regulation.”
BBVA Switzerland has also stated that it will continue to diversify its Bitcoin portfolio in the coming months. The Swiss bank aims to make it easier for its clients to invest in the new digital environment.
With the inclusion of Ether to the investment portfolio, BBVA Switzerland’s crypto-asset service, which became live for all customers last June, has taken another step ahead. Private banking clients in Switzerland, as well as consumers with a New Gen account, will now be able to manage both Bitcoin and Ether. They can view these digital assets alongside other traditional investments in the BBVA app. They can also be converted to euros, US dollars, or any other fiat currency automatically.
Users can access Bitcoin and Ethereum services with an initial deposit of $10.000 through New Gen, the bank’s 100 percent digital investment account. Bitcoin’s reputation as the most valuable cryptocurrency is fading, as Ethereum and other altcoins gain traction with venture capitalists and financial institutions.
For the time being, BBVA is only delivering this new service in Switzerland, where the blockchain ecosystem is well mature, with clear rules and a significant degree of usage of these digital assets. Their development into new countries or to different categories of clients will be contingent on whether the markets are mature, demand-driven, and regulated properly.
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