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Santander bolsters crypto offering to account holders in Switzerland

Santander Private Banking International, the part of Banco Santander focused on high-net-worth clients, is now offering Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) investing and trading services to customers with accounts in Switzerland.

The Spanish financial services giant is also reportedly planning to expand its offering to include other cryptocurrencies that meet its criteria in the coming months, according to a Coindesk report published on Monday, November 20.

The move that offers direct crypto exposure to the bank’s clients follows a marked shift in Santander’s approach to cryptocurrencies.

While Santander remained skeptical of the crypto market throughout 2022 and even limited its customers’ Bitcoin payments, it took a major turn in 2023. In June, for example, Santander rolled out a series of lectures titled “Digital Assets 101”, in which it sought to better educate its clients about the world of cryptocurrencies.

The lectures, among other topics, focused on explaining the key concepts pertaining to Bitcoin, such as the utility and advantages of its Lighting Network.

Growing interest in crypto among major banks

Santander’s decision to start offering Bitcoin and Ethereum to high-net-worth clients in Switzerland comes at a time of growing institutional interest in digital assets. This year has, for example, seen a deluge of German banks seeking crypto-focused licenses.

In June, the $1.2 trillion banking giant Deutsche filed for a crypto custody license. More recently, other major institutions, including DZ Bank and Commerzbank – Germany’s third and fourth-largest banks – gained said licenses from BaFin.

The move toward greater crypto adoption can also be seen globally. This summer, HSBC added support for Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in Hong Kong. The trend is also visible in the U.S. where, for example, BNY Mellon called blockchain technology its “longest-term play” in January despite the regulatory pressure on the wider crypto industry being near a boiling point at the time.