Two former executives at large, competing Swiss banks have partnered to launch a blockchain-based investing company.

Marco Abele was chief digital officer at Credit Suisse until earlier this year. Before that he held other tech positions at Credit Suisse and worked at Deutsche Bank.

Oliver Bussmann was UBS's chief information officer from 2013 to 2016. Before that he was information chief at SAP, Deutsche Bank and IBM.

On Wednesday morning, Abele and Bussmann started a firm called Tend that will use blockchain technology to allow affluent people to invest in “experiences.”

Angel Fernandez de Soto, a painting by Pablo Picasso
The new firm Tend could be used to allow wealthy people to own a piece of a painting by Pablo Picasso, for example. Bloomberg

For example, someone who loves Picasso paintings but can’t quite afford to buy one will be able to purchase shares of one on the blockchain, along with an associated experience.

“You’ll get co-ownership of this beautiful Picasso piece and you get to fly to Paris and have dinner with your family and friends in front of the original,” Abele said.

Or a client could buy shares in a vineyard, help harvest the wine and receive 20 bottles of it.

“It should be things that are a passion or a specific interest, something they feel strongly about,” Abele said. “For affluent people today, there’s not so much choice when it comes to investing. If you go to a bank you can invest in typical financial instruments, which do not touch their emotions or mean something special to them. It’s more a technical storage of money. The thing that really drives people is real things.”

Tend is negotiating partnerships with organizations like Christie’s, horse dealers and musical instrument dealers.

Tracking assets on a blockchain will help prove authenticity and allow shares or tokens to be traded in a transparent, tamper-free manner, Abele said.

“This is a great example of digitizing physical assets,” Bussmann said. “A smart contract defines an object, like a car or piece of art, and how it can be used. This smart contract can then be used among various parties, in this case, investors. From a management and execution point of view, I think it’s a perfect use case for leveraging blockchain technology.”

The new company plans to generate financing tokens in coming months that will be structured like a conventional bond and comply with Swiss securities laws.

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