Switzerland Set to Ease Finance Regulations, Support Blockchain Innovation

The Swiss government has said that finance regulations should be “swiftly adjusted” to cater for fintech innovations, “in particular the Blockchain area.”

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Switzerland Set to Ease Finance Regulations, Support Blockchain Innovation

The Swiss government has said that finance regulations should be “swiftly adjusted” to cater for fintech innovations, “in particular the Blockchain area.”

In a release issued Wednesday, the country’s Federal Council said it wished to create a “dynamic fintech system” as this would “contribute significantly to the quality of Switzerland's financial center and boost its competitiveness.”

“Due to the rapidly progressing digitization in the financial sector, in particular in the Blockchain area, it can be assumed that business models will develop which are not yet conceivable today,” the release continues.

“The Federal Council will follow these developments closely also in the future and will swiftly propose the necessary regulatory adjustments if required.”

Easing banking red tape

The government also proposed an easing of existing finance regulations pertaining to startups and banking licenses. Companies accepting public funds of up to 100 mln francs should enjoy “simplified authorization and operating requirements relative to the current banking license.”

Similarly, acceptance of public funds of one mln francs or less should not require authorization, thereby fostering innovation from smaller enterprises by removing red tape.

“Against this backdrop, the Federal Council called for an easing of the regulatory framework for providers of innovative financial technologies [...] This easing should reduce barriers to market entry for providers in the fintech area and increase legal certainty for the sector overall,” the release stated.

Eyes on Estonia

Switzerland has been positioning itself as a Blockchain leader for some time, as well as providing a favorable environment for Bitcoin startups.

In January, the country finally granted a license to wallet provider Xapo, which had been slowly migrating its operations from the US over an extended period but faced regulatory uncertainty.

E-government initiatives are also active in Switzerland, with local startup Procivis producing a study comparing its digital advancements over the past two decades with those of e-government pioneers in Estonia.

The study, coordinated by consulting firm Xupery, likewise found that Switzerland was somewhat behind the times, something which the government itself now appears to be aware of.

“Our research also shows that despite having the reputation of being one of the most innovative countries, Switzerland so far hasn’t sufficiently seized the opportunities of digitization in the public sector,” it said.