Switzerland officially ushers in new blockchain finance era
The launch of digital asset laws in Switzerland has been greeted with a welter of activity from the growing industry. Companies are positioning themselves to gain ‘first mover’ competitive advantage in the brave new world of distributed ledger technology (DLT) finance.
Switzerland passed the so-called ‘blockchain law’ in record time last year. It is being implemented in two phases: company law reforms on February 1 to be followed by financial market infrastructure upgrades from the beginning of August. This will open the doors to a fully regulated cryptocurrency and digital securities industry in Switzerland where all participants know where they stand and the risks are understood.
It is hoped that this will bring new benefits to the financial markets – faster trading, reduced costs and a wider range of products available to a greater number of participants.
Three companies (SEBA and Sygnum banks plus Crypto Finance) made announcements on February 1. Crypto Finance has been awarded a securities house license by the Swiss financial regulator FINMA for its Crypto Broker division. The brokerage, which handled over CHF1 billion in trades last year, can now enable clients to trade a new breed of digital securities, including company shares and potentially alternative assets such as tokenised real estate, luxury goods and collectibles.
Several other entities, including SIX Group’s Swiss Digital Exchange (SDX), Bitcoin Suisse, Lykke and Taurus are also seeking FINMA licenses (either announced license applications or heavily rumoured intentions).
Switzerland may be one of the first countries to comprehensively codify digital assets into national law, but the race to build the new generation of innovative financial companies and infrastructures is still wide open.Weiterlesen