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CVA welcomes Swiss Bankers Association’s new guidelines to encourage blockchain companies

Fri, 21 Sep 2018, 10:15 am UTC

The Crypto Valley Association (CVA), a non-profit organisation supporting the blockchain ecosystem in Switzerland, has welcomed the issuance of new guidance from the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) to its members, regarding the treatment of blockchain-based companies in the country.

Switzerland has gained a worldwide reputation as a popular destination for crypto and blockchain companies. In 2017, four of the ten largest ICOs were conducted in Switzerland. In 2018, the country continues to rank among the most attractive places for blockchain companies.

The SBA on Friday published guidelines that are intended to help banks take a differentiated approach to account opening, depending on the nature of the connections that the company has with blockchain technology. It will help provide increased clarity and assurance and remove barriers to the growth of the Swiss blockchain ecosystem.

The guidelines have been developed with the help of the CVA Regulatory Working Group. The SBA said that it established an internal working group involving member banks and CVA, to work in detail on requirements and conditions that might apply when opening accounts for companies with links to blockchain and ICOs.

“We have seen a lot of positive growth in the ecosystem over the past 18 months and now it was very important that the SBA and CVA could come together and work on a solution that can ease some of the restrictions that could hamper the continuation of that growth,” Oliver Bussmann, President of the Crypto Valley Association, said.

The guidance makes key distinctions between blockchain-focused companies seeking to raise capital through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and those who do not. According to the outline, companies which do not fundraise through an ICO should be treated no differently than regular Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Further distinction regarding documentation needed is made between ICOs carried out with fiat currencies and those using cryptocurrencies.

The guide has been welcomed by FDF, the Federal Department of Finance, and FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

“This guide is an important and timely contribution. As a multi-stakeholder organization it was important for us at the CVA to bring a diverse range of perspectives and expertise to the table for the development of these guidelines and we hope that it will benefit the healthy advancement of the crypto and blockchain industry in Switzerland,” Dr Mattia Rattaggi, who chairs the CVA Regulatory Working Group, said in a statement.

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