The tiny country Liechtenstein appears to be quickly cultivating status as one of blockchain’s hottest frontiers, with Union Bank AG announcing it will become the world’s first fully regulated bank to launch its own security token and fiat-backed stable coin.
According to a press release filed August 17th, 2018, Union Bank will issue the tokens under the eye of the Financial Market Authority (FMA), Liechtenstein’s financial watchdog.
Union Bank’s move comes just days after Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX) and Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trade volume, raised the curtain on a crypto-to-fiat exchange backed publicly by the prime minister of the European finance hub.
Union Bank seems to see itself as part of Liechtenstein’s paradigm-shift, and stated intention to become the world’s first “blockchain investment bank”. The chairman of the board, M.H. Dastmaltchi, noted:
In the future, Union Bank AG will be a one-stop crypto and blockchain solution provider which embraces and integrates the new world of blockchain technology and crypto assets and the best practices of traditional banking.
The Liechtenstein-based bank, which currently serves Austria, Switzerland, Germany and the Middle East, claims to already offer institutional crypto-fiat conversion as part of its range of primarily corporate banking services.
The bank has not confirmed which fiat currency will act as the stable coin’s peg, yet it has detailed a target market for ‘Union Bank Payment Coin’ — which may see it rub elbows with Ripple, Stellar Lumens, and other cross-border payment solutions.
M.H. Dastmaltchi explained the context of the payment coin:
“Our fiat-backed Union Bank Payment Coin has the potential to disrupt the approach to international trade and international cross-border transactions.”
Liechtenstein: Blockchain’s Shot at the Big-Time?
Traditionally, banks may have thrown the production of cryptocurrencies in the too-hard-basket — with many developed economies seemingly caught in a ‘who draws first’ regulatory stalemate. Union Bank, however, may have have been spurred on by Liechtenstein’s evidently bullish stance on blockchain.
Having achieved one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world through progressive financial policy, the nation is in the process of implementing the Blockchain Act — a regulatory framework, tabled in March 2018 — designed to support ventures such as Union’s.
Nestled between the financial centers of Austria and Switzerland, Liechtenstein has traditionally positioned itself as a banking powerhouse not bound by borders — perhaps the ideal suitor for blockchain banking.
Cover Photo by Henrique Ferreira on Unsplash