Blockchain is being heralded as the innovation of the decade and has the potential to fundamentally change the financial system. The first pilot projects are already in use, and more and more investors are showing interest in digital assets. Kryptobank is definitely here – but the world is still complex and opaque.
The world of banking is changing. Margins are eroding in the core business, branches have to close due to changing customer behavior, third party providers are trying to win customers along the value chain with simple banking. But that’s not all: With the advent of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), completely new business models are emerging, also outside the banking industry.
The first and best known application of a blockchain is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. An individual or group using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto developed the technology in 2008 in response to banking and government failures during the financial crisis. This skepticism towards intermediaries resulted in the open source principle of the Bitcoin blockchain: the new transaction registry should no longer require a central authority and should be open to everyone. Meanwhile, a remarkable ecosystem has emerged around blockchain and digital assets – and Switzerland is at the forefront.
The federal government has also responded to the new technology. At the end of 2019, the Federal Council (press release) decided to adapt the existing law for blockchain technology, and the National Council and the Council of States unanimously gave the bill the green light this year. Since the summer of 2021, Switzerland has had one of the most innovation-friendly blockchain regulations in the world.
New business models
The emergence of blockchain technology and the digital assets based on it will fundamentally change the structure of the financial market. On the one hand, cryptoassets are attracting more and more attention from investors who see this asset class as an attractive addition to their portfolio with potential returns. On the other hand, DLT increases efficiency in raising capital and in international payment transactions. Asset settlement and marketability, which today take two to three days, are processed in real time. It will be a step-by-step agreement with no delays. Assets are transferred not only quickly, but also almost risk-free.
Never stop learning
This development opens up enormous opportunities for the financial center and the local banks, such as the expansion of existing services, but above all for the establishment of new business models with new revenue streams. However, this requires an understanding of the new possibilities. On the one hand, you need to understand the needs of customers, and on the other hand, you need to maintain an overview in the rapidly growing crypto environment. Several universities of applied sciences already offer similar further education courses, such as HSLU Lucerne or HWZ Zürich. The subject is also becoming increasingly important at universities. The University of Basel even created its own Center for Innovation Finance.
In spring 2020 started Switzerland’s first certification course «Certified Crypto Finance Expert CCFE» been launched. Participants not only learn the theory of blockchain, tokenization and crypto assets, but are also confronted with existing use cases and get to know the new crypto ecosystem. They benefit from the experience of the experts, all of whom come from crypto banking. CCFE is the only crypto education in Switzerland that has a hybrid structure: Participants can complete the course physically in Zurich – or virtually from home or anywhere. The course also counts as SAQ recertification.
The course offers participants the following benefits:
- Audience-specific introduction to blockchain and cryptoassets for banking and finance professionals
- Awareness and overview of the national and international crypto industry
- Discussion of possible use cases
- Understanding the ongoing paradigm shift in the financial industry
- Imparting the necessary skills to help bank customers successfully use digital assets
- Certificate and SAQ recertification
The CCFE thus provides the necessary basis for financial service providers in the future to offer competent advice and be able to make well-founded opinions about cryptocurrencies and investments, thus creating the basis for being or becoming successful in the future of the financial industry. CCFE not only offers new job opportunities and chances, but also increases the labor market relevance of the participants.