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This is particularly true for cantonal, i. However, a need for selective action and improvements in certain areas of private, financial market and insolvency law was identified. Swiss law does not define the term cryptocurrency or virtual currency.
However, the Swiss federal government had to address the topic of virtual currencies in a special report dated June 25, Given their tradability, virtual currencies should be classified as an asset. Asset tokens promise, for example, a share in future company earnings or future capital flows. In terms of their economic function, therefore, such tokens are analogous to equities, bonds or derivatives. Tokens, which enable physical assets to be traded on a blockchain-infrastructure, according to FINMA, also fall into this category.
FINMA points out that tokens may also fall into more than one of these three basic categories. Such hybrid tokens are, for example, asset tokens or utility tokens, which at the same time also qualify as payment tokens. In Switzerland, cryptocurrencies are not legal tender. The concept of DLT-Rights aims to ensure the tokenisation of rights by providing the legal framework for an electronic registration of rights that entails the same protection as a negotiable security.
Contractual claims namely under a bond or other debt instruments or membership rights e. On the other hand, cryptocurrencies such as, for example, Bitcoin that do not give rise to a claim against an issuer and therefore do not have an admissible underlying within the meaning of the DLT-Draft Law, cannot be issued in the form of DLT-Rights.
It is therefore still unclear whether any additional amendments will be made to the draft and when the DLT-Draft Law will enter into force. In Switzerland, cryptocurrency-related activities are not prohibited. Under Swiss law, securities Effekten are financial instruments, which are: i standardised; ii suitable for mass trading; and iii either certificated securities Wertpapiere , uncertificated securities Wertrechte , derivatives or intermediated securities Bucheffekten.
Whether, or which, tokens are securities is currently not absolutely clear, i. Therefore, each token will have to be subject to a specific determination on a case-by-case basis in consideration of the principles outlined by FINMA.
According to FINMA, utility tokens are not treated as securities if their sole purpose is to confer digital access rights to an application or service, and if the utility tokens can already be used in this way at the point of issue.
In our opinion, this assessment is correct. They serve as mediums of exchange and arguably also as units of account and storage of value. As FINMA points out, uncertificated securities may also be created in so-called pre-financing and pre-sale scenarios, if claims to purchase tokens in the future are granted in the course of such processes.
Such uncertified securities will also be treated as securities provided they are standardised and suitable for mass trading. For example, issuing asset tokens, which are linked to the performance of a share or a project may, under certain circumstances, qualify as regulated securities dealer activity. Such licensing requirements do, however, not apply as long as the person engaging in such activities has no physical presence i.
Acting on a mere cross-border basis does not trigger any duty to obtain a securities dealer licence. Organised trading facilities are establishments for: i multilateral trading in securities or other financial instruments whose purpose is the exchange of bids and the conclusion of contracts based on discretionary rules; ii multilateral trading in financial instruments other than securities whose purpose is the exchange of bids and the conclusion of contracts based on non-discretionary rules; and iii bilateral trading in securities or other financial instruments whose purpose is the exchange of bids.
However, in our view, the wording of the legal definition suggests that cryptocurrencies do not qualify as financial instruments within the meaning of FinSA. This view seems to be shared by the Swiss Federal Council.
Licensed DLT-Trading Venues will be authorised to provide services in the areas of trading, clearing, settlement and custody of DLT-Securities to both regulated and unregulated financial market participants, including potentially retail investors. Under certain conditions, the trading of cryptocurrencies may also be permitted at a DLT-Trading Venue. For the purpose of tax assessment, cryptocurrencies must be converted into Swiss francs. According to the understanding of different cantonal tax authorities, cryptocurrencies are considered to be assets, comparable with bank deposits, and are therefore subject to wealth taxes.
If the FTA does not determine a year-end market value, the cryptocurrencies must be declared at the year-end price of the trading platform via which the buying and selling transactions are executed. If no current valuation rate can be determined, the cryptocurrency must be declared at the original purchase price in Swiss francs cost of acquisition. Because the rules for declaring the cryptocurrencies can vary, the rules must first be checked in the canton of residence.
In general, capital gains on assets of individuals such as cryptocurrencies are exempt from income tax. However, if cryptocurrencies are held as part of the business assets of an individual e.
Legal entities are subject to annual capital tax. Therefore, legal entities have to declare cryptocurrencies in their tax assessment at cost of acquisition or, if this value is lower, converted at the year-end exchange rate provided by the FTA.
Therefore, cryptocurrencies with no market value provided by the FTA are to be declared at acquisition costs. Corporations are subject to Swiss corporate income tax on any net taxable earnings from the sale of cryptocurrencies. Non-realised gains on cryptocurrencies are only subject to Swiss corporate income tax in case of a mark-to-market accounting in the Swiss GAAP accounts of the corporate investor. For the purpose of VAT, cryptocurrencies are treated the same way as legal tender, meaning that the trading or exchange activities of cryptocurrencies and additional services related to such trading or exchange activities are exempt from VAT.
Under Swiss law, both issuing cryptocurrencies as well as the subsequent trading of such tokens may be subject to anti-money laundering requirements. There are two main groups of financial intermediaries. Such financial intermediaries are, for example, banks or securities dealers.
Whether such activity is carried out in a professional capacity or not must be assessed based on quantitative benchmarks e. The AMLA and implementing regulations provide for a series of obligations that financial intermediaries must adhere to, e. With regard to cryptocurrencies, the following is important with regard to anti-money laundering regulations:. However, there are specific rules in place, which aim at generally promoting fintech developments in Switzerland.
In , the Swiss Government announced that it plans on reducing barriers to market entry for fintech businesses. Any person or entity continuously accepting more than 20 deposits from the public or publicly advertising to accept deposits is deemed to be acting in a professional capacity. Therefore, it will be predominately crowd-funding platforms that will benefit from the simplified licence.
The implementing Ordinance provides for a number of simplified requirements, relating to the required minimum capital, organisation and risk management which must be satisfied in order to obtain a Fintech licence. Under Swiss law, it is undisputed that securities may be legally owned. With regard to tokens, which do not qualify as securities, i. It is currently not clear under which circumstances such service providers qualify as banks.
This depends, in particular, on how the cryptocurrencies are being stored, and the technical details of how such storage occurs. With regard to licensing requirements, it must further be kept in mind that Switzerland will implement the new FinIA along with the FinSA in These new acts will set forth a new licensing requirement for individual asset managers, and a registration requirement for client advisors.
Such registration will be subject to certain requirements such as proof of a sufficient education, training and professional experience in the respective area of practice. Under the current Swiss insolvency regime, it is not sufficiently clear whether cryptocurrencies could be segregated in favour of the entitled creditors, if a third-party custodian, such as a wallet provider, were to enter into bankruptcy proceedings.
In view of these uncertainties, the DLT-Draft Law suggests certain amendments to the Swiss Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcy Act, in order to allow the segregation of cryptocurrencies frothe bankruptcy estate of an insolvent third party custodian.
The segregation in favour of the creditor will, however, require that the crypto assets in question can unambiguously be allocated to the respective creditor. Switzerland has no laws or regulations which are tailor-made to the phenomenon of cryptocurrencies or mining of cryptocurrencies. Hence, mining of cryptocurrencies is permitted and the activity is not subject to particular laws and regulations. In Switzerland, there are no particular border restrictions or declaration requirements that would apply to cryptocurrencies.
In Switzerland, making payments with cryptocurrencies is not a regulated activity and there are no reporting requirements to be met when such payments are made. In Switzerland, there are no particular estate planning or testamentary succession aspects concerning cryptocurrencies. Under Swiss law, heirs acquire the inheritance as a whole upon death of the testator by operation of law.
Therefore, all possessions with an inheritable value are transferred to the heirs by universal succession. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are considered as having an inheritable value. Bitcoins that are recorded on a blockchain are attached to the latter. Problems arise when the heir does not possess the necessary means usually the private keys to dispose of the inherited cryptocurrencies. The authors acknowledge with thanks the contributions of Manuel Dubach and Urs Meier to this chapter.
To date, only i coins issued by the Federal Government, ii banknotes issued by the Swiss National Bank, and iii Swiss franc sight deposits at the Swiss National Bank qualify as legal tender. It must be noted that this is a novel and rapidly developing field of law and different views can be taken as to the classification of crypto assets as securities under Swiss law. In light of this, it cannot be excluded that FINMA will come to a different conclusion in the future, in particular with regard to cryptocurrencies.
FINMA noted that they would reconsider their conclusion in light of the views taken in any future case law or any new legislation in this area. Federal Council Report — Legal framework for distributed ledger technology and blockchain, p.
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Full legal advice should be taken from a qualified professional when dealing with specific situations. Please see our terms and conditions page for further details. Free Newsletter. About Us Contact Us Partners. Toggle navigation. Sign up for free newsletter. Government attitude and definition. Cryptocurrency legislation. Sales regulation. Money transmission laws and anti-money laundering requirements. Promotion and testing. Ownership and licensing requirements.
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Russia’s Sberbank opens a cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland
The Swiss government has announced a new legislative approach to blockchain regulation in an official report. The Federal Council also made clear that it wants exchanye financial transactions to have a place in the legal code. The report mentions a proposal to give discretionary powers to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA to loosen regulations affecting decentralized securities trading platforms as long as their activities swiitzerland not harm investors. Swiss economist Luzius Meisser expressed his belief that this approach to legislation could prove much more effective in a written statement, saying:. This shows once again how the switzzerland Swiss approach of having principle-based laws that give a lot of discretion to citizens and regulatory agencies are much more innovation-friendly than overly detailed European-style laws. Switzerland has decided to achieve these objectives without creating a slew of new laws, opting instead to adapt current legislation to incorporate new technological developments. The most important legislative changes proposed so far include:.
Stringent Anti-Money Laundering Regulations
The Department of Finance is amending regulations under anti-money laundering and terror financing legislation so that crypto exchanges would be classified as money service businesses. The exchanges would then have to report any transaction over 10, Canadian dollars. Commercial banks are subject to similar reporting rules on transactions. Financial regulators and law enforcement officials have become increasingly concerned that cryptocurrencies are being used for money laundering and terror financing. We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing. Breaking News.
Not so much in a tactical day-to-day way, but in big ideas, massive infrastructure projects, and institutional attention on the mushrooming crypto industry. As a result, cryptocurrency regulation has had to evolve, possibly beyond the capabilities of regulators. IBM has been helping enterprise businesses improve efficiency using blockchain technology, and big banks like JP Morgan and Wells Fargo are creating their own token.
Regulationn, the number of bitcoin wallet users continues to increase rapidly. Regulators worldwide have spent a lot of time getting up to speed with technology. Their first main focus was on reining in ICOs. With all this happening, regulators have much more to contend with now, as the cryptocurrency user base is ever widening. To this point, cryptocurrency regulations have been primarily reactionary in nature.
What regulators and market participants are retulation shooting for is a framework they can live with for guidance going forward. The swifzerland of self-regulation is also starting to take root as the true impact of privacy banking capabilities takes hold. Each country that has been updated will clearly show the date at the very beginning. The updates will be there to catch you up in the exchnage. Bitcoin is currently at its lowest price with many blockchain projects hitting a wall as regulators scramble to clamp down on ICOs, the primary fundraising mechanism for crypto startups.
Officials worldwide are playing catch up. To that end, we created this Global Update on cryptocurrency regulation. This is by no means an exhaustive list. We start with Europe. As usual, Europe leads with caution in the crypto realm. Brexit has still not been completely resolved, bonds are now entrenched in negative yields and trade wars between the China and US are affecting stability.
One the other hand, some EU regions, like Malta and to some extent, Switzerland, still provide business friendly atmospheres to crypto startups and exchanges. DEC Inthe European Union passed a motion enabling the taxation of crypto holdings and earnings. But since then, they have not set an overarching definition of cryptocurrencies. As such, individual EU countries on their own in formulating regulatory laws.
While bitcoin has legal status in the EU, there exists no overall framework for regulatory controls. Even though the European Parliament met recently to discuss ICOs, they only covered generalities about increasing oversight. In spite of this, member nations are moving forward with their own regulatory efforts.
During the first and second quarters ofEstonia has been tightening up and tweaking regulations for their licensing program for crypto businesses. Establishing a regulated business on the cryptocurrency market in Estonia is easier than in any other country. While Estonia does make it easier for crypto companies to conduct business, each startup must be fully compliant. Even so, the low costs and simpler process makes Estonia stand out from other countries.
Companies, as you would expect, must be registered in Estonia to be eligible for licensure. The second is for wallet providers. So far, Estonia has issued over licenses to crypto businesses. Both of these laws attest to dedication to developing policy in the industry.
One issue that has cropped up here, and no doubt in every region, is getting banked. Cryptocurrency businesses still have trouble getting a bank account, even in Estonia. Traditional banking services are often not available to companies dealing with crypto. This forces companies to here foreign banks and payment services.
Some e-residents also face unapproved account applications at banks due to their lack of business connections with Estonia. French regulators readied themselves this summer to approve a tranche of crypto related companies under a new set of rules which would be first exchanhe this type of regulation in a major economy. These companies include startups planning to have an ICO, exchanges, fund managers and custodians. The new rules essentially require all of these types of entities to follow the same regulations as banks and brokerages including capital requirements, consumer protections and taxation.
It also outlined concrete plans to bridge banking services with blockchain based projects. Lastly, the French were first in giving guidelines for insurance and fund managers who want to get involved in the growing crypto industry.
If they choose that, these companies will need to be compliant, including satisfying AML requirements, among other things. In return, banks will be available to them for financial services. Further, granting some leeway was also included in recognition of the complexity of decentralized projects and the need for flexibility during this time of rapid innovation.
They are not just encouraging banks to extend services to crypto projects. France has been plodding along the regulation highway, bringing the highly debated ICO issue to the front as they begin building a regulatory framework. In a nutshell, Cryptocurreny wants to create an environment that is ICO and crypto friendly. According to that report, there were 15 ICOs in France during raising 8.
The majority of these projects had already raised funds through traditional mechanisms. Apparently, the French people are very accepting of digital currencies. The bank of France has since stated they endorse no such project. In late Novemberthe French government proposed changes to their taxation rules for crypto assets:. This tax regime which includes Upon approval, the ICO would fall under the whitelisting switzerland cryptocurrency exchange regulation. French citizens will need to list their crypto asset accounts held in France as well as abroad once regulation goes.
Just recently, a court ruling disclaimed this status. The reason behind this change was because Bitcoin does not meet the definition of a financial instrument as found in the German Banking Act. The court dismissed criminal proceedings against a local bitcoin exchange in September because bitcoin:.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, continues to express doubts that cryptocurrencies will replace fiat. Though he does seem to be warming up to blockchain technologies. He has raised doubts as to whether global adoption is technologically possible. Just recently, he even brought up the Tulip craze comparison once.
BaFin Chief, Felix Hufeld has a slightly different take on crypto. Once again, the maxim is that we must act prudently or regularly if financial stability as a whole is threatened or if consumers are systematically harmed.
This British overseas territory has faced significant upheaval since Brexit. As a British Overseas Territory, Gibraltar developed its cryptocurrency regulation policies based around nine principlesincluding sufficient AML Anti-Money Laundering and KYC Know Your Customer practices, robust security for protecting investor assets, cyrptocurrency sufficient financial backing. These principles all adhered to:.
Their tax-friendly environment and embrace of DLT technologies are founded in the desire to encourage blockchain innovation while keeping all participants safe. Inthe same year this country stood out as a token haven, their big objective was building a bridge between crypto businesses crypfocurrency banks. The Lithuanian Finance Ministry is on target to become the first nation to fully implement recommendations made by the Read article Action Task Force.
Three major changes will be playing out for Lithuanians and businesses headquartered there:. These types of transfers will now come under the same treatment as crypto to fiat transactions, with their corresponding bank-like regulations. That means, for example, exchanges outside this nation, like Kraken, Waves or Coinbase, cannot offer services unless they go through the Lithuanian registration process. This does seem a little unrealistic and makes one wonder if that will ever hold.
Many exchanges worldwide have a simpler onboarding process with additional requirements necessary with each tier of services. This new law, once enacted, will eliminate this option. This move solidified their commitment to developing and furthering financial markets in the region. Lithuania for its part reuglation been proactive in breaching the expanse between the cryptocurrency industry and traditional finance and banking.
We also believe that the regulation amendments mentioned above will enhance trust between commercial banks and ICO initiators. This project is unusual because of how the Ministries of Finance and Economics in Lithuania has fully endorsed it.
Their goal as a country is to continue its growth as a center for FinTech innovation. This is to include cryptocurrencies, paying special attention to the legalities while laying the cyrptocurrency. Bankera was one ICO in Lithuania that ran into trouble. While that company no longer has their headquarters there, the central bank initiated investigations into Bankera and one other ICO startup.
This included resources to teach how to identify fake ICOs and lists of warning signs to look for, such as unrealistic promises of high returns. A great example reggulation regulation infrastructure. They selected CipherTrace as the security firm in charge of monitoring the activities of cryptocurrency businesses within Malta. In essence, CipherTrace will head up switzerlanf the regulatory and risk management processes for digital assets businesses in Malta.
The crypto friendly business atmosphere in Malta has paved the way for multiple crypto exchanges cryptocurrdncy, including Binance. Their innovative and thorough approach to cryptocurrency regulation encompasses three different pieces of legislation. The first two took effect on November 1, With their comprehensive approach to regulation, Malta leads the way in introducing innovative regulations to further the blockchain industry.
In late Septemberthey announced their official stance on ICOs, which basically stated that crytocurrency do not regulate or supervise Switzerlwndblockchain projects or cryptocurrencies. They also announced that secondary legislation regarding crowdfunding, something they began exploring in Decemberswitzzerland now in effect. The approach of Turkish officials seems light when compared to other regions.
Instead, they make the effort to caution all investors and educate them about the speculative and risky aspects of ICO investments.
Daura was recently used by Deutsche Börse and other partners in settling securities transactions with tokenised shares.
The concept of DLT-Rights aims to ensure the tokenisation of rights by providing the legal framework for an electronic registration of rights that entails the same protection as a negotiable security. Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender In Switzerland, cryptocurrencies are not legal tender. Sign up for free newsletter. Scott Switzwrland. The report addresses several legal and regulatory questions and proposes specific amendments such as a new civil law instrument for tokenised securities and a distributed ledger technology licence allowing trading and post-trading activities. About Us Contact Us Partners. If the token is used to access some functions of a smartphone application, it is a utility token. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are considered as having an inheritable value. Dec 6, Whether, or which, tokens are securities is currently not absolutely clear, i. How are transactions using virtual currencies as the medium of exchange taxed in your jurisdiction? It must be noted that this is a switzerlsnd and rapidly switzerland cryptocurrency exchange regulation field of law and different views can be taken as to the classification of crypto assets as securities continue reading Swiss law. Sales regulation. According to it, persons that store or allow transactions with assets are obliged to know their customers. The brave new world of Bitcoin Market trends Given the convenience of established currency and payment systems, what is driving the ever-growing interest in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies?