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Swiss FINMA Announces New Guidelines for Crypto and Blockchain Firms

Swiss FINMA Announces New Guidelines for Crypto and Blockchain Firms

Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has recently published new guidelines for getting the new Fintech license. The new license is meant for cryptocurrency and blockchain firms.

FINMA’s New License to Have ‘Relaxed Requirements’

According to FINMA, the new license have “relaxed requirements,” and it will enable blockchain and crypto firms to accept public deposits as high as 100 million Swiss francs. The terms of the license, however, state that the companies are neither allowed to invest the public deposits nor pay interest on them. The move comes after a banking act amendment in November.

“The FinTech license allows institutions to accept public deposits of up to CHF 100 million, provided that these are not invested and no interest is paid on them. A further requirement is that an institution with a FinTech license must have its registered office and conduct its business activities in Switzerland.”

New Guidelines for Blockchain and Crypto Firms

Starting January 1, 2019, cryptocurrency and blockchain companies would have to pass a set of FINMA defined criteria to procure the new license. The companies sending the applications also have to submit their applications in Switzerland’s official languages. Few of the requirements includes reasons for applying, description of the proposed organization and target audience.

Full accountability is also requested from the board members of the firm, including names, date of births, nationality, and a curriculum vitae. An additional requirement is that companies applying for the license must have their registered offices and conduct their business activities only in Switzerland.

Apart from the newly announced FinTech license, FINMA has announced that amendments to the Banking Ordinance (BankO) have included crowd-lending businesses to the sandbox, which will only start on 1 April 2019.

“In the BankO, the sandbox will additionally be extended to include crowdlending business models, whereby public funds up to a total amount of CHF 1 million can one day be brokered not only for commercial and industrial purposes but also for private consumption.”

Back in January 2018, Switzerland’s economic minister, Johann Schneider-Ammann, said that Switzerland should strive to become Europe’s “crypto-nation,” and welcomed cryptocurrencies as part of the new revolution. The newly relaxed requirements is another step by FINMA to lead the way on regulations for Swiss cryptocurrency and blockchain firms.

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