German stock exchange snaps up Swiss cryptocurrency firm

The operators of Germany's main stock exchange appear committed to merging cryptocurrencies into mainstream finance. Keystone / Boris Roessler

The operators of Germany's main stock exchange have paid more than CHF100 million ($108 million) for a majority stake in Swiss cryptocurrency service provider Crypto Finance.

This content was published on June 29, 2021 - 15:37

The move reflects a growing trend of traditional financial institutions gearing themselves up for an anticipated growth in the trade of digital financial assets.

Founded in 2017, Zurich-based Crypto Finance specialises in the storage and trading of a range of cryptocurrencies. The company acts as an intermediary between professional traders and crypto exchanges where the likes of bitcoin can be bought and sold.

For example, Spanish bank BBVA will lean on Crypto Finance to execute its recently announced cryptocurrency services for clients at its Swiss private banking unit.

Deutsche Börse, owners of Germany’s largest stock exchange, is one of many well-established global trading venues to embrace cryptocurrencies and other forms of digital assets in recent months.

The Swiss stock exchange is also poised to enter the space with the impending launch of its Swiss Digital Exchange (SDX) platform.

“Digital assets will transform the financial industry. There is increasing demand from established financial institutions which are looking to become active in this new asset class and want a trusted partner,” said Deutsche Börse executive board member Thomas Book in a statementExternal link.

In addition to cryptocurrencies, digital assets can also include new digital versions of company shares, bonds and other investments. They are designed to run on distributed ledger technology (DLT) systems that allow for instant transactions that are easily traceable.

Old and new worlds

Deutsche Börse has agreed to pay a “moderate three-digit” million sum to take a two-thirds stake in Crypto Finance, pending regulatory approval later this year.

The Crypto Finance group also has expansion ambitions in Asia, having won asset management and securities house licences for two of its divisions from the Swiss financial regulator. The group raised CHF14 million in venture capital last year.

“Since the beginning our goal has been to bridge the old and new worlds,” said Crypto Finance CEO and founder Jan Brzezek, who will stay with the company under its new owner.

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