Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA), Spain's second-biggest bank, is planning to launch a cryptocurrency trading and custody platform, according to a report from online publication Coindesk. The site quoted anonymous sources as saying that the Europe-wide initiative will be based out of Switzerland. Due to pending regulatory approvals, the timeline for the project's launch is not yet certain and ranges from this Christmas to sometime next month.

Key Takeaways

  • Spain's second-Biggest bank BBVA plans to launch a Europe-wide cryptocurrency trading and custody platform by next month.
  • The bank was among the first financial institutions to integrate blockchain into its operations.

According to the Coindesk report, BBVA shares custody solution providers with Gazprombank, a Russian bank that launched similar services recently, and Standard Chartered PLC (SCBFF), a U.K. bank that plans to offer similar services.

BBVA's move is not entirely unexpected considering its past work in the industry. The bank was among the first few to integrate blockchain, the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies, onto its platform. Its corporate lending program for loans and structured bonds combines a private platform, whose design is based on Hyperledger, to negotiate corporate loan terms with public blockchains like Ethereum to ensure time-stamping and auditing capabilities.

In the past, regulatory uncertainty regarding cryptocurrency trading stymied the progress of BBVA's ambitions for integrating crypto into its operations. The Swiss regulator's lead in providing clarity regarding cryptocurrency services has attracted several providers to the jurisdiction. BBVA joins a growing list of banks offering cryptocurrency trading and custody services in Switzerland. For example, regulatory authorities there approved Incore Bank and Maerki Baumann, two Swiss banks, to provide crypto services in June this year.