Switzerland Seeks to Ensure their Country Remains Attractive for Blockchain & ICO Development with Creation of New Working Group

The Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) has announced the creation of a Blockchain / ICO working group this past week. The new Group has been tasked to review the legal framework and identify any need for action with the involvement of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ), the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and in close consultation with the sector.

Switzerland has become a hot-bed of crypto activity and in many respects has become the leading ICO center in the world. Regulators and other public officials have largely embraced this new-found prominence in Fintech, an event that has burnished Switzerland’s image in the alternative finance industry.

The Crypto Valley Association  (CVA), headquarted in Zug, Switzerland, recently published a Code of Conduct for Initial Coin Offerings – an event that has been widely watched by the ICO sector. The CVA started with just 16 members at launch and today now counts over 550 corporate and individual members.

The creation of the Blockchain / ICO working group was in response to the Béglé motion on 15 November 2017. At that time, the Federal Council promised that SIF would set up such a working group because Blockchain technology gives rise to fundamental legal issues concerning both financial market law and general pieces of legislation (Code of Obligations, Swiss Civil Code, etc.).

The working group expects to evaluate the legal framework for financial sector-specific applications of Blockchain technology, with a particular focus on ICOs. The Group will identify potential needs for action and present courses of action. The Swiss government said the work will be carried out in a steering committee consisting of the SIF State Secretary, Jörg Gasser (chair), the Director of the FOJ, Martin Dumermuth, and the Director of FINMA, Mark Branson. The steering committee will work closely with the Blockchain and ICO sector.

The goal of this work is to “increase legal certainty, maintain the integrity of the financial centre and ensure technology-neutral regulation.” Importantly, the Swiss government indicated its intent to “help ensure Switzerland remains an attractive location in this area.”

The working group will report to the Federal Council by the end of 2018.

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