Category Archives: Finma

Auto Added by WPeMatico

Switzerland to Adapt Existing Laws to Accommodate Blockchain

Switzerland to Adapt Existing Laws to Accommodate Blockchain

Contemplating a separate blockchain legislature are out of the question for the Swiss as the Finance Minister Ueli Maurer said Switzerland will instead adapt the current legal framework to account for blockchain technology.

Maurer said during the Infrachain blockchain conference in Bern that there won’t be a special blockchain law, instead, the current legal framework will be tweaked to adapt to the new technology and its derivatives. This will involve an adaption to six different laws starting with the “laws of obligations and ending with bankruptcy law”. The whole process should be completed in the coming year.

About a year ago, in a fintech round-table discussion involving the minister and other financial and scientific stakeholders, attendees agreed upon the urgency of attention to the development of blockchain and initial coin offerings (ICO). This led to setting up a committee to determine the necessary actions to be taken towards the development and adoption of the new enterprise.

Blockchain interest in the country has taken up a rather interesting turn with jurisdictions such as London, Singapore and Shanghai identified as “tough competitors”. However, countries like Liechtenstein are ahead of the Swiss in terms of blockchain-related legislature with a bill already in motion will be passed in 2019.

Blockchain developments (standardization) and regulation are currently being considered simultaneously in Switzerland to effectively groom the industry. With FINMA proposing a structural operational model for financial institutions to work against the volatility of the market on one hand. Switzerland’s State Secretary Joerg Gasser has opined that standards are now more important than regulation since according to him, fintech has moved beyond the “hype-cycle”. On the horizon, more utility use for blockchain enterprise seems to be developing as well.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @BitcoinNewsCom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com: https://t.me/bconews

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The post Switzerland to Adapt Existing Laws to Accommodate Blockchain appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Switzerland’s FINMA License Huge Boost to Blockchain

Switzerland’s FINMA License Huge Boost to Blockchain

Switzerland’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has new planning in place which will allow cryptocurrency exchanges to behave like the country’s banks in that they will be able to hold public deposits of up to CHF 100 million (USD 100.5 million) under a new license available from next year.

An amendment to the country’s Banking Act by the forward-thinking and crypto friendly Swiss government has made this change to the way cryptocurrency exchanges do business. The changes have been introduced, according to the government, in order to make Switzerland a more inviting location for crypto business moving forward.

Conditions to the new law will apply as the funds held with exchanges up to CHF 100 million can’t be invested funds. Those wishing in obtaining the new license will need to contact FINMA with a broad outline of the scope of their business plan over the next three years with a clear indication on who the target customer will be.

All participants under the new licensing will be thoroughly checked by FINMA. All members of projects will be thoroughly vetted for criminal records and platforms interested in obtaining a license must also agree to a financial audit on reapplying in the future. Also, any overseas companies thinking of applying, for what is very close to bank status in terms of capital held, will need to register all participants with a holding of 5% or more in the company, the same requirement as Swiss nationals under the new cryptocurrency banking laws.

The world has now taken to looking to Switzerland for innovation, so yet another move to empower the industry hardly comes as a surprise. Only two weeks ago, Swiss stock exchange SIX, the fourth largest stock exchange in Europe with a market capitalization of USD 1.6 trillion, followed up on its commitment made back in June of this year to open its doors to cryptocurrencies. With this announcement, it is about to list the world’s first crypto-based exchange-traded product or ETF as it is known in the US. A feat attempted, but not yet achieved on the other side of the Atlantic.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com: https://t.me/bconews

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The post Switzerland’s FINMA License Huge Boost to Blockchain appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Swiss State Secretary: Standards Not Regulation Will Boost Crypto Market

Switzerland’s State Secretary has commented that fintech has moved beyond “hype-cycle” into a stage where standards are now more important than regulation. Secretary Joerg Gasser was speaking at this week’s Singapore Fintech Festival.

The Swiss minister pointed out the increased demand for fintech regulation internationally was not necessarily in the best interest of promoting the industry. Improved market efficiency within the sector has lead to a situation where more focus can now be placed on technologically-neutral regulations based on a far more collaborative approach toward blockchain technology. Standards, Gasser maintained, are now the key element moving forward.

During the panel discussion entitled ‘Capital Markets: Killer Use Case for Blockchain?’, Gasser pointed out that powerful investors are now getting into blockchain, which has increased the demand for regulation. But adoption can only be assured if industry standards continue to be maintained.

He cited his native country, Switzerland, as an example of principle-based and technology-neutral regulation, a country in which regulation was seen as cooperative rather than punitive, encouraging innovation through government support.

This was demonstrated earlier this year when Switzerland took another step along that road with the country’s stock exchange, SIX,  announcing that it will open its doors to digital currencies. The new platform being built by SIX will offer integrated post-transaction services such as deal settlement and asset custody through DLT.

SIX, regulated by national regulator Finma and the Swiss central bank, says that it plans to roll out its cryptocurrency service in the first half of 2019. SIX’s chief executive, Jos Dijsselhof commented:

“For us, it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry. The financial industry now needs to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities.”

With SEBA Crypto AG expecting to be licensed as a securities dealer and bank by June of next year, it appears that banks are finally warming to the concept of digital assets. Guido Bühler, CEO of SEBA Crypto AG, suggests that five large asset managers from overseas have also shown some interest in the bank.

The bank plans to offer custodial services with plans to raise a further USD 206 million through an ICO in order to expand its operations into major financial hubs in the new year.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com: https://t.me/bconews

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The post Swiss State Secretary: Standards Not Regulation Will Boost Crypto Market appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Approved Swiss Blockchain Startup Goes for Banking License

A Swiss blockchain company which has gained regulatory approval in the alpine pro-cryptocurrency nation is to seek a banking license.

Startup Smart Valor has won approval to operate in the country’s buoyant financial market and will be regulated by the local Financial Services Standards Association (VQF) rather than the national regulatory agency, the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

This means that Smart Valor as yet is the only company to have been given this scope, allowing it to be monitored by FINMA. Its next step will be to apply for a banking license which it hopes will allow the company to offer security investments early next year.

The proposed launch will be an online platform for alternative investments which will also include crypto, tokenizing all platform assets. Smart Valor’s founder Olga Feldmeier commented:

“Most of these investments have previously only been available to a small elite of high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors… Tokenization transforms the way people own things, improves liquidity, and makes these investment opportunities accessible to a broader audience of investors.”

Smart Valor was founded in 2017 by Feldmeier in an attempt to disrupt Switzerland’s banking system after jumping from China-based Bitcoin wallet Xapo. In a formal statement from the company it outlined the scope of its plans for 2019:

“Pending regulatory approval, the VALOR platform will expand its offering to asset-backed tokens, such as equity in blockchain companies, blockchain-related infrastructure projects, real estate, crypto funds, venture capital, and private equity funds.”

Along with Gibraltar and Malta, Switzerland is fast becoming a global hub for blockchain and cryptocurrencies, with investors from all over the world moving there. Towns such as Zug, a small town of 120,000 people just a short drive from Zurich, and the southern Italian-speaking Swiss town of Chiasso, are beginning to make a name for themselves in the global crypto space.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com: https://t.me/bconews

Want to advertise or get published on BitcoinNews.com? – View our Media Kit PDF here.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The post Approved Swiss Blockchain Startup Goes for Banking License appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Eleven Credit Suisse Staff Take Crypto Positions Elsewhere

Zurich’s branch of Credit Suisse has seen an exodus of staff, as they switch from banking to cryptocurrency over the past year.

The last to leave, Andrew Reel, has left the Swiss bank to become head of digital asset markets at Morgan Stanley also based in Zurich. But he’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to crypto defectors, with insider reports from the Swiss banking giant stating that 11 others have also departed on the digital career trail.

Three others have left CS bound for various positions at Crypto Finance, a Swiss company that aims to implement blockchain technology, and one to become head of trading. Two others have left the bank and set up Vision&, a self-described “Swiss-based, SRO-regulated asset manager facilitating access to innovative blockchain investment opportunities.” Since then, these two have reportedly launched the first actively managed blockchain investment product in Switzerland.

A crypto exchange in Zug, Switzerland’s Crypto Valley, called Lykke, has been the beneficiary of another Credit Suisse defector, which later saw the arrival of two further CS refugees. Two other companies have also snapped up leavers such as blockchain company Digital Asset and Schneider Digital Asset.

Apparently, all professionals in the Zurich banking market are well known to each other and it appears that they’ve all ended up at Credit Suisse at some time or another. One of the leavers commented:

“We all worked together on the trading floor…The community in Switzerland (and globally) was very compact a couple years ago. Our small blockchain cell of people entered the space rather early and shared knowledge.”

Reportedly its that fact the cryptocurrency and blockchain lend themselves to a better way of expressing the entrepreneurial spirit than banking. He added, “We found different ways to enter the crypto business but still keep close and exchange thoughts.”

Switzerland’s stock exchange, SIX, announced recently that it will open its doors to digital currencies. The new platform which is being built by SIX will offer integrated post-transaction services such as deal settlement and asset custody through DLT. SIX and regulated by Finma. The Swiss Central Bank, says that it plans to roll out its cryptocurrency service in the first half of 2019.

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at @BitcoinNewsCom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The post Eleven Credit Suisse Staff Take Crypto Positions Elsewhere appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Geographical Minnows in the Hunt for New Crypto Business

Many small countries with flexible regulatory guidelines towards cryptocurrencies and friendly banking rules are pulling some companies away from some of the more established “havens” such as Switzerland.

Many in the industry have recently expressed concerns that Switzerland may be losing its “crypto-haven” tag,  primarily because of current banking regulations in the alpine country. Thomas Moser, a board member of the Swiss National Bank, told Reuters recently that some fintech companies still had trouble opening accounts:

“They raised concerns about problems with opening bank accounts, which was a worry for them, and asked for help… I said this was not something the SNB dealt with, but they should speak with FINMA.”

This sounds like a less than genuine approach by the central bank as FINMA, the Swiss cryptocurrency-friendly regulatory body, continually has to deal with SWB’s continued concerns about money laundering.

Recent countries in the hunt for business are Liechtenstein and Gibraltar; elsewhere, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda are fast becoming start-up favorites, the latter recently when Bermuda shorts-wearing Changpeng Chao, CEO of Binance, announced he would open up compliance operations there and invest USD 15 million in the island.

Just in the last week, Bermuda’s Prime Minister David Burt, who also doubles as Minister of Finance, announced that 20 fintech companies had incorporated in Bermuda and another 21 were waiting in reserve. The list of 20 included Binance, Unikrn, iCash, Hub Culture, DES Digital Currency Exchange and Omega One with both Arbitrade Ltd and Arbitrade Mining (Bermuda) Ltd listed.

Bermuda has not only captured the world’s largest crypto company in Binance but, through its prime minister, has also expressed the desire “to position Bermuda as the incubator for this industry”, as Burt recently said at a New York blockchain conference.

The Rock of Gibraltar seems an unlikely place for a financial hub but nonetheless, it is, like Bermuda, fast becoming one, as it continues to lure new and existing fintech companies to its shores. Its second ‘Gibfin’ blockchain forum is on its way in September 2018, demonstrating the country’s serious intent when it comes to encouraging fintech companies to do business there.

Gibraltar is also about to finalize its cryptocurrency legislation which would allow companies to trade in digital currencies. Currently, 35 companies have applied for a government license.

Tiny Liechtenstein isn’t to be left behind either. The country’s proposed new Blockchain Law would take Liechtenstein down the “haven” route offering “crypto companies regulatory and legal predictability as well as enabling the country access to traditional fiat-based banking services”.

The law, originally scheduled for legislation on 10 July, is still on hold as the industry awaits further announcements later in the year.

Despite the obvious competition from these geographical minnows, Switzerland forges ahead regardless to become Europe’s cryptocurrency capital. Recent moves towards allowing cryptocurrency trading on its new SIX Digital Exchange is a clear notice of intent.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The post Geographical Minnows in the Hunt for New Crypto Business appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Switzerland’s Stock Exchange SIX Launches Crypto Platform

Cryptocurrency-friendly Switzerland has taken another step along that road with the country’s stock exchange, SIX,  announcing that it will open its doors to digital currencies, according to the Financial Times.

The new platform which is being built by SIX will offer integrated post-transaction services such as deal settlement and asset custody through DLT. SIX, regulated by Finma and the Swiss central bank, says that it plans to roll out its cryptocurrency service in the first half of 2019.

SIX’s chief executive, Jos Dijsselhof, commented on the new plans for the stock exchange, explaining:

“For us, it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry. The financial industry now needs to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities.”

The move will not be surprising to crypto watchers in the country given Switzerland’s stance on cryptocurrencies. This the year the Swiss government said that it was considering the establishment of a national digital currency called the e-franc; an idea which is still under consideration.

Banks, however, have been less open to digital currencies. Andréa Maechle, Board Member of the Swiss National Bank, earlier this year expressed his view on nationally-issued digital currencies, citing them as inferior to their private sector counterparts.

However, Swiss politicians are trying to bridge the gap between cryptocurrency investors and the banking system so that banks can offer crypto services alongside their conventional business. Finma, the Swiss financial supervisor, has already set out guidelines to help local ICOs to facilitate cryptocurrency finding a place in Switzerland’s financial space.

As institutional investors begin to take more of an interest in the digital currency market, more exchanges are beginning to bring in tighter controls and safeguards, not just in Switzerland but globally. The rise in the new wave of institutional investors has encouraged cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase and Huobi to integrate such features as custodial services and default funds into their businesses to offer users increased protection.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

The post Switzerland’s Stock Exchange SIX Launches Crypto Platform appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

First Swiss Bank Open for Business to Crypto Companies

Hypothekarbank Lenzburg has become the first Swiss bank in the alpine country to provide business accounts to blockchain and cryptocurrency companies, Cointelegraph reported June 6.

Another financial institution, Zurich’s Falcon Private Bank, had offered crypto asset management services to its clients since last year, but Hypothekarbank has become the first to open company in the fintech sphere. The bank’s CEO Marianne Wildi said:

“As a bank that sets itself up technologically and pursues a cooperative strategy in the field of fintech, it is also a matter of credibility to work together with the young sector of crypto and blockchain companies in Switzerland.”

Wildi said that she was fully aware, along with many global banking instructions, of money laundering issues, but confirmed that the bank had examined all relevant risks going in and also informed the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) before working with startups in the crypto space. In fact, she iterated that the bank had a very selective process of accepting new clients and has only accepted two crypto companies thus far.

In recent years, Swiss banks have been reluctant to have anything to do with cryptocurrency firms. Despite Switzerland’s tradition of banking secrecy which dates back to the Middle Ages, a new banking “secrecy”, distributed ledger technology (DLT), has been of little interest to major banking players in the Alpine country.

Some smaller banks have introduced cryptocurrency asset management schemes over the past few years but the larger banks remain skeptical. Outside of the banking sector, cryptocurrency adoption remains buoyant.

As Bitcoin News has reported, the Swiss canton of Zug has become a global hub for the cryptocurrency industry. Lately, 200 blockchain companies have joined the incumbents in Zug, now being tagged as ‘Crypto Valley’, so named after the association set up there in 2013 to attract start-ups to cryptocurrency. Since 2016, the town has even been accepting Bitcoin payments for social services. and was the first town to install crypto ATMs.

Lichtenstein’s Bank Frink, sees no risk to their reputation doing crypto business with Swiss banks. The country, like Switzerland itself, is slowly becoming another talked about European crypto hub. Earlier this year its government introduced further comprehensive blockchain regulation.

 

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bitcoinnewscom

Telegram Alerts from BitcoinNews.com at https://t.me/bconews

The post First Swiss Bank Open for Business to Crypto Companies appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.

Switzerland Plans to Become Blockchain Nation

Out of the world’s six biggest initial coin offerings (ICOs) last year, four took place in Switzerland, according to Swiss financial watchdog, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

Along with Gibraltar and Malta, Switzerland is fast becoming a global hub for blockchain and cryptocurrencies, with investors from all over the world moving there. Towns such as Zug, a small town of 120,000 people just a short drive from Zurich, and the southern Italian-speaking Swiss town of Chiasso, are beginning to make a name for themselves in the global crypto space.

Zug has long been a global economic center, attracting large investment firms, pharmaceutical companies, commodity trading groups and thousands of other companies all benefiting from a favorable corporate tax rate of 14.6%.

Lately, 200 blockchain companies have joined the incumbents in Zug, now being tagged as ‘Crypto Valley‘, so named after the association set up there in 2013 to attract startups to cryptocurrency. Since 2016, the town has even been accepting Bitcoin payments for social services and was the first town to install crypto ATMs.

One reason for Switzerland’s success as a center for blockchain and fintech, according to Swiss law firm MME, is the country’s openness to new business concepts and innovation. Marin Eckert MME partner said, “Swiss regulators are among the few that really have a deep understanding of the technology and how it works.”

Johann Schneider-Ammann, Switzerland’s economics minister, said that the landlocked country should strive to “become the crypto-nation” earlier this year, calling cryptocurrencies part of the “fourth industrial revolution”, yet the government, rather than fully embracing cryptocurrency, seems more focused on promoting blockchain technology enterprises.

Despite Switzerland’s tradition of banking secrecy which dates back to the Middle Ages, distributed ledger technology (DLT) has been of little interest to major banking players in the Alpine country. Some smaller banks have introduced cryptocurrency asset management schemes over the past few years but the larger banks remain skeptical.

Andrea Maechler, governing board member of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), suggested that blockchain technology had “potential”, but cryptocurrencies still weren’t “comparable with money”.

The Swiss Blockchain Taskforce clearly sees the potential of DLT. Based in Crypto Valley, the organization has released a white paper drawn up by some 50 industry leaders, scientists and political representatives with recommendations for the future regulations and strengthening of the industry.

The Swiss Federal Council created a regulatory sandbox last year to allow startups to experiment with fintech developments such as blockchain and to attract more such organizations to Switzerland.

 

The post Switzerland Plans to Become Blockchain Nation appeared first on BitcoinNews.com.