Ex-UBS chief wants his crypto bank to tap into the $220 billion cryptocurrency market

Peter Wuffli, the former CEO of Switzerland’s largest bank UBS and head of Swiss crypto bank Sygnum, wants to tap into the “$220 billion market of institutions and individuals who already own cryptocurrencies.”

Local news outlet SwissInfo reported on September 26 that Wuffli had shown excitement about the potential of crypto assets. In an interview, he told the outlet:

“The most immediate opportunity is the $220 billion existing market of institutions and individuals who already own cryptocurrencies. Thousands of customers have contacted us for a one-stop-shop for asset custody, lending and trading cryptocurrencies seamlessly with fiat currencies.

Asset tokenization is the next frontier

Wuffli noted that he believes the tokenization of assets such as company shares, real estate, art, or commodities is the industry’s next frontier. However, he also admits that there are still many unanswered questions, and many of them are regulatory in nature.

Wuffli also hailed the potential of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), pointing to the opportunity he sees in stock securitization and the creation of smart contract-based stock ledgers. It provides for such a system bringing a lot of simplification:

“You can do away with spreadsheets and combine systems for paying dividends, doing capital raises and trading in the secondary market. And trading could take place without long settlement times and counterparty risk.

Yes to DLT, no to corporate currencies

Yet he asserted that – at a deeper philosophical level – DLT is about the democratization of the market. He said he believes “the longer-term potential is to create more open, broader and easier cross-border access to assets.”

Yet he also expressed a skeptical stance towards Facebook’s Libra stablecoin. Although Wuffli admitted he didn’t know Facebook’s plans in detail and couldn’t really comment on the project, he did express concern about the idea of ​​corporate currencies in general. He adds that nation states will not allow such assets to threaten their currency monopoly, saying:

“However, I believe that the regulation of financial services and the control of currencies are essential tasks of the state and that currencies cannot be separated from sovereign states. As soon as someone tries to challenge the sovereign monopoly on currencies, he won’t allow it, and for good reason. Also, I don’t think people will treat private currencies like that without the power of a country and a political system behind it.

As Cointelegraph reported in August, Sygnum received a banking and securities trading license alongside Swiss crypto-focused entity SEBA. Wuffli noted:

“One thing missing from my CV is that I never participated in the creation of a new bank. I’m a curious person and I like novelty, it’s energizing.