The familiarisation of investment in cryptocurrencies continued to grow apace this week with an interesting development in Switzerland. Crypto Fund AG, a fund based in the ‘blockchain city’ of Zug in Switzerland, announced that it had received a license from financial market supervisor FINMA to distribute funds. The license, according to a Reuters report, will not allow the firm to operate as an asset manager for crypto funds, but will enable it “to distribute collective investment schemes to qualified investors”—a first of its kind in the crypto sector.
Zug is, by now, a well-known internet and blockchain city, where there has been considerable advancement on the crypto level. Companies operating from the area can benefit from tax breaks and there has been considerable interest and growth in the city.
Crypto Fund AG, a subsidiary of Crypto Finance Group, is also a member of Swiss self-regulatory organization VQF. In a statement, Crypto Fund founder and CEO Jan Brzezek said, “Getting the FINMA license is a big step in the right direction, to establish us as the first point of contact for crypto assets.
FINMA confirmed this approval, although it did not say whether Crypto Fund AG was the first to secure such a license.
Cryptocurrencies have grown in popularity as prices rallied last year, prompting increased regulatory scrutiny. However, the past months have been extremely torrid for the cryptocurrency market in general, with prices dropping as much as 80% in some cases from their all-time high. The alarmingly large number of scams and ICOs have also taken a toll on the industry in general.
According to Crypto Fund AG, it’s also seeking approval for a passive investment vehicle tracking a benchmarked index of up to 10 of the largest and most liquid cryptocurrency assets and tokens, as calculated and maintained by Swiss bourse SIX. Cryptocurrency funds have also suffered of late with several seeing drops of between 15-20% over the past months so it remains to be seen whether there will be a take-up by investors for this fund.