Switzerland takes another large step in the direction of a crypto paradise with the introduction of a motion to redefine client deposits, exempting Bitcoin businesses from the stringent financial regulations banks face.
Members of the Swiss parliament moved to lessen regulations on Bitcoin- and blockchain-based startups. Federal Assembly member Franz Grüter, along with 23 of his colleagues across several parties, filed the motion last Wednesday (though a vote would likely not take place until the fall).
The motion aims to clarify the definition of financial institutions. Currently, companies that handle client money quickly become classified as banking institutions, and are therefore subject to a host of financial regulations.
By redefining “client deposits” and exempting cryptocurrency, the motion would lessen the potential regulatory burden facing blockchain startups, the prospect of which has kept out many cryptocurrency exchanges.
Swiss town started accepting Bitcoin earlier this year
Last month, the Swiss town of Zug began to accept Bitcoin payments for certain city services, as part of an experimental trial run in integrating cryptocurrency with governance. The trial is set to run for the rest of 2016, and allows citizens to pay up to 200 francs worth of public services in Bitcoin.
Zug stands out as an example of success in involving cryptocurrency in government. Earlier this year, legislators in New Hampshire in the United States attempted to pass a bill that would allow Bitcoin payments for taxes. The motion was ultimately tabled and did not succeed.
A further move to make Switzerland a “crypto haven”
The motion to deregulate blockchain businesses is a further move to position Switzerland at the forefront of the fintech world.
The Swiss canton of Zug is known in the cryptocurrency world as home to “crypto valley,” an area containing the headquarters of numerous blockchain companies, including Xapo, Shapeshift, and Ethereum