Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank, part of the largest family-owned banking group in the world, is now offering cryptocurrency custody and brokerage services.
As part of the services available to private clients, LGT Bank is offering direct investment in bitcoin and Ethereum against U.S. dollars. The financial institution owned by the princely House of Liechtenstein holds $285 billion (CHF 280 billion) in assets under management.
Liechtenstein’s bank highlights growing crypto demand
The announcement posted on the banking group’s website highlighted the growing demand for cryptocurrencies among its clientele but also underscored the difficulty many have faced in developing the necessary technical understanding of the nascent asset class.
It is with these difficulties in mind, such as liquidity challenges or private key custody, that the bank is approaching its services.
“We are very pleased that we can now offer our clients convenient access to these markets while upholding the highest security standards,” said Roland Matt, CEO of LGT Bank.
“Cryptocurrencies are still in a stage of dynamic development,” he added. “LGT therefore first created the corresponding, necessary processes, and framework for this type of investment.”
The announcement also related how clients would undergo familiar processes and procedures when dealing with crypto, similar to those with traditional assets. These included identical tax return documentation and the ease in accessing funds once the assets are sold.
In offering these services, the bank has partnered with SEBA Bank, which will act as a broker and custodian for their clients’ cryptocurrencies.
According to Mathias Schütz, SEBA’s head of client and tech solutions, “LGT is starting with their booking center in Liechtenstein for clients that are located in Liechtenstein and Switzerland.” He added that the bank plans “further expansion over the next couple of months.”
Crypto lacks standards of reserve currency
Last week, Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan related at the annual general meeting how simple it would be for the central bank to own crypto assets.
“Buying bitcoin is not a problem for us, we can do that either directly or can buy investment products which are based on bitcoin,” Jordan said.
Yet, despite the professed ease with which the monetary authority could put bitcoin on its balance sheet, Jordan acknowledged that it still lacks the standards required of a reserve currency.
Meanwhile, as part of Western sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, Switzerland said in March that it would freeze all crypto assets owned by sanctioned Russians.
One senior official from the country’s finance ministry said the move was necessary in order to “protect the integrity” of its developing cryptocurrency industry, as it positions itself to become one of the world’s largest centers for blockchain-based financial assets.