Switzerland to regulate the blockchain in the context of existing financial laws


The government of Switzerland wants to welcome the blockchain sector within its existing financial laws.

The Federal Council of the country released a Friday report, which provides a legal framework for distributed ledger technology (DLP), or blockchain, stating that the existing regulations in Switzerland are suitable for dealing with these new technologies, but some amendments are still needed.

Firstly, the Council proposed an amendment to the law on the country's securities to increase the legal certainty of crypto tokens. "Since an entry in a decentralized register accessible to interested parties can create advertising similar to the ownership of a security, it seems justified to attribute similar legal effects to this heading," explained the highest executive authority of the Swiss Confederation.

The council also wants to separate the encrypted assets from the total assets of the insolvent debtors in bankruptcy proceedings. However, since the country's current Debt and Debt Implementation (DEBA) Act is not clear whether these activities can be separated, the council has said that there is a "great need for legal certainty" for the parties involved and therefore a corresponding change is proposed in the DEBA law.

In addition, the government agency has proposed the creation of a new "category of authorization" for infrastructure providers in the blockchain sector and will make changes to its Financial Market Infrastructure Law accordingly. Currently, the board has not yet proposed any specific changes, as the central definitions of the terms "securities" and "derivatives" in the regulation of financial markets are also relevant for blockchain-based business models, he said.

Regarding the country's anti-money laundering law, the Council stated that the legislation is currently adequate enough to also cover activities related to cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). "The general principles of money laundering law also apply to cryptography-based resources," he said, adding that "fundamental revision" is not required at the moment.

The Swiss government has worked on blockchain regulations since 2016, when the Federal Department of Finance of the country delineated his plans to adjust fintech. Later in the early 2017, the same advice was search for consultations on regulatory changes for the national financial industry on behalf of fintech including blockchain.

More recently, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has introduced a new fintech license with "relaxed" requirements that is applicable to companies based on blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Image of the Swiss Federal Palace through Shutterstock

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