While Canada and California are tackling Bitcoin legislation head on, the Swiss Federal Council has announced its move to the contrary: no law on digital currencies.
The Council’s report published today contains an in-depth review of the status of virtual currencies including Bitcoin, both within Switzerland and internationally. Rather than following suit after Canada’s announcement last week of the world’s first national Bitcoin law, however, it was recommended to hold off on passing any form of official ruling.
An official press release states:
“Given that virtual currencies are a marginal phenomenon and are not in a legal vacuum, the Federal Council sees no need for legislative measures to be taken at the moment.”
The report itself summarizes the decision, repeating the old adage that “the economic importance of virtual currencies as a means of payment is fairly insignificant at the moment and the Federal Council believes that this will not change in the foreseeable future.”
Given Switzerland’s place as a hub of fiat stockpiling, this is perhaps hardly surprising, even though the mood in recent months has turned against the tax-evading fat cat and cut Bitcoin some slack in the country.
Add to this the lively Bitcoin scene and it would seem that the Council decision is a lot more beneficial to all than a hasty reworking of other governments’ laws. The report continues:
“At the international level, there is not yet a uniform approach shared by states for dealing with virtual currencies. International standards in relation to them do not exist either. Accordingly, the challenges posed by virtual currencies have not been addressed uniformly up to now.”
Separately, the Council also considered the legal implications for virtual currency-based business transactions. Recently, Swiss financial regulator FINMA “confirmed the need for Bitcoin brokerage activities to respect AML regulations and undergo registration with a SRO,” a press release by Swiss startup SBEX SA notes in relation to their domestic expansion plans.
While the absence of official regulation looks set to continue, the consolidation of the virtual currency wilderness has been noted as a “fantastic opportunity” by SBEX CEO Alexis Roussel. “It creates a stable environment where it is clear what can or can’t be made,” he explained.