Swiss Regulator’s ‘Relaxed’ Fintech License Covers Blockchain Firms

Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has introduced a new fintech license with “relaxed” requirements that is applicable to blockchain and cryptocurrency-based firms.

The regulator announced Monday that the new license allows approved “innovative financial companies” to accept public deposits of up to 100 million Swiss francs (or just over $100 million), provided the funds are not invested and no interest is paid on them. The move is a result of a late-November amendment to the country’s Banking Act by the Federal Council to promote fintech innovation.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, blockchain firms that wish to be licensed under the scheme must meet certain certain conditions. Firstly, the entity must be a company limited by shares, a corporation with unlimited partners or a limited liability company. Secondly, it must also have its registered office and conduct its business in Switzerland, the regulator explained.

FINMA has also issued guidelines aimed at smoothing the application process for potential licensees, setting out a long list of details they will need to provide up front. These include the reasons for applying for the license, a description of the proposed business activity, a business plan including budget for the next three financial years with “optimistic, realistic and pessimistic scenarios,” among others.

Back in October, FINMA issued a license to a cryptocurrency investment fund from Zug-based Crypto Finance AG, founded by former UBS banker Jan Brzezek. That license was issued under the country’s Collective Investment Schemes Act.

Swiss flag image via Shutterstock

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