The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory authority (FINMA), on 16th February 2018 has again confirmed its leading role as regulator for crypto-related activities. The newly issued guidelines for Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) are available at the following link: https://www.finma.ch/en/news/2018/02/20180216-mm-ico-wegleitung/
Switzerland is increasingly becoming a “crypto friendly country”, mostly due to its history (it has been a Confederation of autonomous Cantons since the later medieval period), and its developed banking system, supported by a business-friendly legislation. Local regulators are applying their neutrality approach to new technologies, while being supported by one the most developed financial systems in the world.
The Swiss Confederation, with its Crypto Valley based in Zug, is one of the preferred jurisdictions for the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) market: during the last year, swiss registered foundations, limited companies and other entities have raised nearly 600 million USD in funding, an astonishing amount according to Coinschedule.com, which estimates in nearly 3.9 billions the total amount of funding received by ICOs globally during 2018.
The new guidelines
FINMA, as described on its website, is “focusing on the economic function and purpose of the tokens issued by ICO organizers”. Tokens have been divided in three categories for regulatory purposes:
- Payment tokens treated as cryptocurrencies with no further functions;
- Utility tokens used to provide digital access to crypto services or any other application;
- Asset tokens comparable to equities, bonds or derivatives.
Different tokens will fall under the above three categories according to their characteristics, and will be regulated accordingly.
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