Switzerland launches consultation on blockchain and ICOs regulations

Swiss authorities are mulling whether a separate sandbox should be established for blockchain-related projects. The proposal is a part of a wider consultation concerning blockchain-based technologies and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

One of the proposals concerns the establishment of a sandbox for blockchain-based applications. There is a sandbox for fintech projects in Switzerland already but it is used for projects in the area of banking.

The working group enquiries whether such a separate sandbox (or even separate sandboxes) would be able to solve certain regulatory hardships for companies engaged in the development of products based on blockchain.

The Blockchain/ICO Working Group was established by the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF), with the involvement of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

Switzerland has no regulations regarding the buying and selling of virtual currency units or their use as a means of paying for goods and services. Put otherwise, no special approval is required for these activities. This applies to everyone who pays with a virtual currency or buys units of it as well as to all those who accept payments in a virtual currency or sell units of it.

Over the past months, the working group has dealt intensively with civil and financial market law and has examined whether and to what extent amendments to the current legislative instruments are appropriate due to the development of blockchain technology, specialised outlet Financefeeds reports.

The focus is not restricted on initial coin offerings but on all applications of distributed ledger technology in the financial sector.

The group has identified a need for action in the civil law for transfer of tokens, their treatment under insolvency law and the creation of new opportunities in the area of financial market infrastructures.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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