Arab Bank Switzerland is offering clients access to DeFi tokens

    20 Jan 2022

    Arab Bank Switzerland, the Geneva-based affiliate of Middle Eastern lender Arab Bank PLC, has extended its crypto offerings focused on wealthy investors. It includes ten major decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens, such as AAVE, COMP, UNI, and more.

    Arab Bank Switzerland began offering crypto custody and brokerage of Bitcoin and Ether back in 2019. Recently, CoinDesk reported that the bank announced adding access to Fantom (FTM), Aave (AAVE), Chainlink (LINK), Polygon (MATIC), Compound (COMP), Synthetix (SNX), The Graph (GRT), Curve (CRV), Uniswap (UNI), and Yearn Finance (YFI).

    DeFi tokens’ offering to bank clients is another step toward the institutional DeFi adoption, similar to recent announcements like the launch of Aave Arc, with its whitelisting of regulated entities courtesy of custody firm Fireblocks. As well as custodying BTC and ETH, Arab Bank Switzerland also offers staking on the Tezos blockchain.

    Some asset managers like Bitwise already have DeFi funds on offer; however, it’s hard to find another traditional bank putting DeFi tokens on the bill to fare. Just some newer crypto-focused banks in Switzerland, such as Sygnum and SEBA Bank, have already got DeFi tokens on the menu.

    Romain Braud, the bank’s digital assets director, said offering DeFi tokens to clients was the first step, with a view to more involvement in yield-generating protocols further down the line.

    “The idea for now is just for our clients to buy, sell and hold some of the most prominent DeFi tokens,” said Braud in an interview. “But we do believe traditional financial institutions will be replaced in the near future by these protocols, and we want to be part of this change. So, naturally, in the future, we want to go deeper into these kinds of decentralized services.”

    Braud says Arab Bank Switzerland distinguishes itself from some of the newer crypto banks because it is part of a well-capitalized group and also has the Middle East connection.

    “We have a lot of legacy clients in the Middle East,” said Braud. “A bank that understands the Middle East, but is also based in Switzerland, is really a good combination for them.”

    Arab Bank Switzerland was established back in 1962 and was the first international affiliate of Arab Bank Group, which held $49 billion in assets as of 2018. A spokesman said that the Swiss entity has $5 billion in assets under management.

    Last October, Arab Bank Switzerland announced its plan to integrate staking, custody, and trading services onto XTZ, the Tezos blockchain’s native token, to provide a digital asset environment for institutions, corporations, and high net-worth individuals. This announcement comes amid the token’s recent price surge, which led it to a new all-time high.

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