Despite the unfamiliar terminology, this is not science fiction. This is a new type of banking that is already active in conservative Switzerland – with the blessing of the financial regulator.

The Swiss bank in question, Fiat24, is not a household name. It’s a new company that was last year awarded a fintech banking licence, which limits the volume of deposits it can accept to CHF100 million ($102 million). But the licence does allow Fiat24 to introduce clients to the expanding world of decentralised finance, where investments and trades are managed by code rather than people.

A new wave of technology innovators believes the established method of banking, which needs three working days to process payments and takes possession of people’s money while imposing a range of fees, is unwieldy and outdated. Blockchain, the decentralised database on which cryptocurrencies are stored and traded without the need for intermediaries, was originally conceived as a ‘bank killer’. Now it’s slowly being absorbed by the banking system.