We’re excited to announce that Fireblocks will be expanding in the DACH market with the opening of a new office in Switzerland. Over the last six months, Fireblocks has doubled the size of its European team to support the increasing number of institutional customers in the region.
With close to 200 customers in the DACH market, the expansion into Switzerland brings dedicated support to our customers and further expands our investment in Europe’s digital asset ecosystem.
“It is important for us to work with Switzerland-based companies because of the value they bring to the financial market, having established themselves as one of the world’s leading financial centers,” said Michael Shaulov, CEO of Fireblocks. “Now these financial institutions are seeking to rapidly deploy digital asset custody, trading, and tokenization products and are turning to vetted technologies to help them remain at the forefront of this space and securely tap into the global crypto-ecosystem.”
Expanding operations to support the Swiss market
To support our expansion into the region, we have appointed Richard Astle and Ana Santillan as Co-Heads of Switzerland.
With over a decade of financial experience, Richard has been advising hedge funds, banks, and corporate clients implementing trading and custody of digital assets. Prior to joining Fireblocks, Richard was a Senior Executive at Covario, a Swiss prime brokerage for institutional fund managers where he built a fully operational trade desk. His extensive knowledge of the Swiss financial services industry stems from his participation in launching the Swiss Crypto Vault, and being a founding member of the Bitcoin Suisse Institutional Services and Products division.
Ana Santillan will also join the team as Regional Head of Switzerland. Also transitioning from Covario as a Sales Trader, Ana has a deep understanding of the asset management industry. For over 10 years, Ana was the Vice President Sales and Trading for Morgan Stanley in Zurich. Ana’s background is in debt capital markets, having established Morgan Stanley’s Swiss fixed income institutional service team. She held senior positions in Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse wealth management before transitioning to digital assets.
Why we chose Switzerland for our new office
Our entrance into Switzerland’s thriving digital asset ecosystem is driven by the increase in demand from Swiss banks and fintechs that need a secure infrastructure to deploy digital asset services at an enterprise level.
The DACH region has been significant to the growth and development and adoption of the digital assets for some time now. It was one of the first financial sectors to welcome cryptocurrency and decentralized finance with a full set of regulations governing the industry. Recently, it’s been a hotbed for blockchain developments, leading the way for more secure implementations.
In addition, our expansion into Switzerland is fueled by an increase in demand from financial institutions worldwide to transition from traditional HSMs to an infrastructure that utilizes MPC and SGX confidential computing. Last year, our R&D team developed MPC-CMP, a new breakthrough MPC algorithm, released as an open source contribution to the digital asset industry in order to bolster digital asset security and transaction signing speeds. Today, Switzerland-native institutions have been the first to implement MPC-CMP, remaining at the forefront of digital asset innovation and adoption in DACH.
The region is currently home to over 960 blockchain/cryptocurrency companies, which include 11 unicorns and employ over 5,000 people. In February, Switzerland ushered in a tokenized Securities Law that backs the country to have one of the most advanced jurisdictions in the world for crypto.
Teaming up with blockchain leaders from Switzerland & beyond
In its effort to support the growth of digital assets in Switzerland, we also recently joined The Crypto Valley Association. The CVA is an independent, government-supported association established to take full advantage of Switzerland’s strengths to build the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technologies ecosystem.
Some of our co-members at the CVA include Bitcoin Suisse, Accenture, Ledger, Okex, PWC, and Kraken, among other leaders in the blockchain space.
“As an early backer of Fireblocks, we strongly believe the banks and institutions in the Swiss region are primed for onboarding its solutions as new products and services are gearing up to come to market,” said Stefan Kuentz, Investment Partner at Swisscom Ventures. “Not only will Fireblocks enable Swiss-based banks and institutions an easy way to launch or expand their digital asset businesses, but will also serve as a straight path to plug into the global digital asset market and liquidity.”