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Spanish banking giant BBVA about to bring crypto to its users

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

Spain’s second-largest bank with $840 billion in assets, BBVA is reportedly in the process of launching cryptocurrencies trading and custody services. BBVA would operate from Switzerland.

Cryptocurrencies are no longer a taboo subject for large commercial banks, including in Europe. And one of the major European players in the banking world could soon demonstrate this once again.

Spain’s second largest bank is preparing to enter the crypto-actives market. BBVA, with $840 billion in assets, could launch financial services in this sector.

This rumour, which is based on the testimony of two sources to Coindesk, suggests that BBVA would invest in the markets of trading and custody of cryptocurrency. However, for these operations, the bank would not opt for Spain, but for Switzerland.

The more welcoming regulation in Switzerland would thus allow BBVA to operate in the world of crypto-actives, and then to develop progressively in the rest of Europe. The ambition is this market as a whole.

According to one source, BBVA “is launching its Europe-wide crypto initiative from Switzerland”. And this launch is to be expected in the very short term. For compliance reasons, the Spanish bank should not be ready before January 2021.

CoinDesk understands that BBVA would now have the same digital asset custody solution, SILO, as Gazprombank. The Russian bank already offers a crypto solution from Switzerland.

The integration of SILO, the banking publisher Avaloq and Metaco into BBVA would take about 6 months. The Swiss crypto-sphere specialist, Metaco, would also develop a custody solution for institutional clients on behalf of the British Standard Chartered.

A French bank is finalizing a pilot project with the startup crypto Curv. BNP Paribas is experimenting with the transfer of security tokens. This is a step towards the provision of custody services for digital assets.

However, none of the companies involved wish to comment on what remains of the rumors. But as CoinDesk reminds us, BBVA is not at its first steps in the use of the public blockchain for finance.

Indeed, in 2018, the Spanish banking player was one of the first in the sector to combine private and public blockchains to process a transaction. At that time, however, regulations prohibited banks from holding ether.