The Swiss government has recently announced that it would take a new direction regarding its position on the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies, working out a strategy to create an appropriate legal framework to allow such technologies to flourish.
In an official report released this Friday, the government recognized the importance of blockchain technologies as critical tools to promote the development of the country’s economy:
“(Blockchain Technologies are) among the remarkable and potentially promising developments in digitalisation. It is predicted that these developments have considerable potential for innovation and enhanced efficiency, both in the financial sector and in other areas of the economy.
Switzerland: Using Crypto and Blockchain Technologies to Boost Its Economy
The strategy seeks to incorporate the use of tokens in various sectors of the country’s politics and economy. One of the most significant proposals tries to clear away regulatory hurdles for trading securities (such as shares, bonds or real estate) on blockchain platforms.
Switzerland is one of the most important blockchain hubs in Europe. Not only have a significant number of startups with several hundred million dollars in investments been established, but the Swiss Central Bank itself has shown interest in the use of cryptocurrencies to promote the national economy.
The measures announced by the Swiss government attracted a positive reaction from investors and users. One example is Mattia Rattaggi, member of the Crypto Valley Association, who shared his impressions via email :
We feel that this approach best represents the principle of technological neutrality and is in line with the position taken by the CVA in the consultation process … Crucially, this approach ensures maximum consistency within the current legal framework while keeping it principle-based and flexible, while allowing changes to be adopted on a ‘need-to-regulate’ basis.
What is Switzerland Trying to Do?
According to Swissinfo, the innovations proposed by the Swiss government are quite numerous and will subsequently require hard work on the part of Swiss legislators to be shaped up as a holistic policy and not merely isolated changes:
- Amend company bankruptcy laws to recognise data as an asset. This would allow courts to handle purely digital assets, and make sure they go to the right creditor, when sorting out insolvent firms.
- Amend the Banking Act along the same lines as above in the case of a financial institution going bankrupt.
- Amend the scope of the Anti-Money Laundering Act to cover decentralised exchanges with the power to dispose of third-party assets.
- Create a “new authorisation category” for blockchain securities traders and exchanges to give FINMA discretion to apply a lighter touch when assessing the activities of such entities. Amend the Financial Market Infrastructure law and the Financial Institutions Act to “create more flexibility” for blockchain/DLT applications.
- The finance ministry is already looking into a Collective Investment Schemes Act amendment to include a new category of funds (limited qualified investment funds L-QIFs) so that “new innovative products could be placed on the market more quickly and cost-effectively in the future”.
- No immediate changes to financial laws for the insurance industry are immediately foreseen as blockhain/DLT is in its “infancy” in this sector.
- The report also sees no reason to change any legislation with regards to cryptocurrencies.