Crypto bank Sygnum tokenizes its own shares on Ethereum, plans to go public eventually

Quick Take

  • Crypto bank Sygnum has tokenized its own shares using the Ethereum blockchain.
  • The bank plans to go public eventually, in Switzerland and Singapore. 

Crypto bank Sygnum has tokenized its own shares using the Ethereum blockchain.

Calling the development "a world's first for a bank," Switzerland-based Sygnum said the tokenization will allow it to manage primary and secondary market transactions in a fully digital manner.

Shareholders won't have to inform the bank to manually update its registry, thus eliminating the administrative burden of written form requirements for share transfers. Tokenization also helps improve liquidity and lower the associated costs for parties involved in a transaction.

"This is an important milestone towards fulfilling our mission of creating more direct and efficient access to ownership and value," said Mathias Imbach, co-founder of Sygnum. "This includes new engagement models with our clients and partners, and ultimately providing liquidity for our trusted shareholders."

Sygnum used its in-house tokenization platform, Desygnate, to tokenize its shares. Desygnate is built on the public Ethereum blockchain, a Sygnum spokesperson told The Block. The platform was launched last month to help issuers raise capital, build liquidity, and more efficiently transfer ownership. 

Sygnum has tokenized its shares within two years of its operations. The bank went live in September 2019 and now plans to go public eventually.

As for listing its tokenized shares, Sygnum looks to opt for both its home markets — Switzerland and Singapore. That includes a potential listing on SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) in Zurich and a Singapore-based digital exchange, which is being developed by SDX and SBI Digital Asset Holdings and is expected to go live in 2022.

Sygnum's tokenized shares can be viewed online in a bank account, alongside other assets such as cash deposits, cryptocurrencies, and Sygnum's settlement token — the Digital CHF (Swiss franc). Velina Peneva, a Sygnum shareholder, said the bank's tokenized shares will now allow her to receive dividends in digital swiss francs.

Update: This story and its headline have been updated to reflect comments from a Sygnum spokesperson.

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