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  • Writer's pictureTeam Sygnum

Operating a digital asset bank in full "Decentralised Mode"

Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, says the defining characteristic of a decentralised blockchain is that it behaves like a single structure - like a swarm of bees moving together in concert. This post talks about how during our COVID-19 “Decentralised Mode” we leverage our technology, retain our customer focus and stay connected - and keep busy-like-bees onboarding new customers digitally from home.

Enabled by technology from the start

Sygnum was rooted from the start in the financial hubs of Zurich and Singapore. Our dual-country operations needed a robust and scalable cloud-based IT infrastructure to allow us to collaborate digitally across two locations – flexibly and securely. These infrastructure investments are now paying off by keeping Sygnum open for business in full “Decentralised Mode”. This is a natural way for a digital asset specialist like Sygnum to work.

The tech-leadership from our CIO Fabian Dori and his team have been critical in ensuring that Sygnum was fully operational and open for business in “Decentralised Mode” in both Zurich and Singapore.

“Because we put the right technology in place from day-one at Sygnum, we were able to transition smoothly and immediately into “Decentralised Mode” at the start of COVID-19. Video meetings, chat functionality and collaboration using online documents has meant that our productivity as a team stayed high – in fact, it has possibly even been boosted as we use these tools more fully. We can maintain this operational state indefinitely, if required.”

Fabian Dori – Sygnum Bank CIO

Keeping our focus on our new clients

Being a natively digital business, every part of the onboarding process can be done online – from account applications and identity verifications, to document submissions and compliance checks. Once clients are onboard, they can securely and conveniently access Sygnum’s full portfolio of products and services via our e-banking portal without setting foot in the bank’s Zurich offices. If you haven’t yet joined us, you can onboard 100% digitally here.

Proof of how effective Sygnum has been in “Decentralised Mode” is in the increasing numbers of clients we have onboarded 100% digitally from the safety and comfort of their own homes. We can’t say how many of course, but we can say that our Clients Services, Compliance and Commercial teams have received great feedback from various clients on our onboarding process, not needing to manage their private keys, and the ability to have their fiat and digital assets all in one account.

If you have been following us, you would have also seen that our product range has expanded through the two new digital assets launched since March – the Sygnum Digital CHF, our CHF-pegged settlement token, and Ripple’s XRP token, the world’s third largest token by market cap, for custody, trading and credit services at Sygnum.

But full “decentralised mode” also means something more than leveraging the latest technology; it also demonstrates how our independent and diverse team are empowered to make decisions that put our customers first.

Working together and staying connected

With Sygnumers currently working remotely across Switzerland and Singapore, ­keeping our team connected and empowered is one of our top priorities.

Our teams already leverage our Cloud-based IT to run their projects across time-zones via video meetings, chat-rooms, phone calls, and gather together each week for interactive all-hands meetings. We collaborate remotely as smoothly as we do around a table; this is very much part of the original Sygnum DNA, and holds true across all our business, functional and technology teams.

Sygnumers also like to have fun, so all kinds of informal virtual events have appeared in our calendars – virtual coffee chats, beer sessions, even trivia nights. This has been great in staying connected and sharing experiences during this challenging time.

"Working from home allowed me to discover my colleagues on a new level, enjoy virtual events with them but also spend more quality time with my family. When you are passionate about your profession, it doesn't matter where you are working from because you always find a way to do it with passion. Being disconnected from your routine can help you become more creative and aware of new trends. We found new ways to work together, to be together, and share more than just working experiences." Virginie Bigalli, Sygnum Bank Digital Marketing Manager

"I have been able to seamlessly transfer to working 100% remotely, thanks to our modern IT architecture. I can work from home at full productivity as I did in the office, and sometimes be even more productive. Searching for a meeting room is no longer an issue as everyone can join a video call together easily. On the coding side, everything was already managed with online tools. On the architecture side, we have implemented new tools to help us collaborate without white boards. From a security standpoint, we have built everything in a robust way, that our systems are no less secure when working from home."

Gavin Pacini, Sygnum Bank Head Blockchain Engineering

Onboard digitally with Sygnum

100% digital onboarding is the fastest and most convenient way to join Sygnum Bank. With a few clicks, you can verify your identity via video[1], submit information, and sign contracts, all online. Once onboard, put your deposited CHF, EUR, SGD and USD to work to securely buy, trade and hold Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP 24/7. You can also access a Digital CHF token for instant settlements, and soon a diverse range of asset tokens – all seamlessly integrated in one account, accessible from anywhere in the world.

As part of our portfolio of regulated digital asset banking services, you can also increase fiat liquidity with a lombard loan against your digital assets, invest in our digital asset MultiManager fund, and add regulated digital assets services to your business with our B2B banking services.

To onboard with Sygnum, click here or contact our Client Services team at or +41 58 508 2000, 8am – 5pm CET.

[1]Available Monday to Saturday, 7am – 10pm CET

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