FINMA issues landmark Swiss license for crypto asset management
Switzerland’s financial services regulator has issued its first license for cryptocurrency asset management, after greenlighting an application from a domestic cryptocurrency investment fund.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority granted licensing approval to Crypto Fund, an investment fund based in Zug, Swissinfo reported. Originally launched in 2017, the fund becomes the first in Switzerland to receive recognition under the new licensing regime.
The move enables crypto fund to offer a wider range of products, which it is expected could help encourage institutional investors into the space. And with the licensing system now officially up and running, the issue confirms Switzerland’s bid to become a ‘Crypto Nation’—a stated aim of the Swiss market amidst growing competition from rival jurisdictions.
Jan Brzezek, CEO of Crypto Fund’s parent company Crypto Finance, welcomed the license, which is seen as a significant win for the company. Brzezek was quoted by the Swiss news outlet saying, “The importance of crypto assets is growing and our aim is to accelerate maturity in these markets. Regulatory recognition remains highly sought after by participants, as seen in recent press and company statements.”
According to local media reports, the success of Crypto Fund could be followed by several others, with a number of firms thought to be progressing applications for the same license. These include applications to offer banking services to the crypto sector, which would solve the current lack of banking provision, and dismantle a considerable barrier to expansion of Zug’s ‘Crypto Valley.’
With the current regulatory setup especially appealing to corporate operators and institutional investors in the sector, the region is already regarded as one of the foremost jurisdictions for blockchain and crypto startups.
The announcement follows on from similar approvals given to a blockchain firm under anti-money laundering laws, by the Financial Services Standards Association, which itself is authorized by FINMA to oversee anti-money laundering compliance.
Zug has also been participating in a number of blockchain trials, including a model for handling municipal votes through a distributed ledger platform.
With the first new license of its kind issued to Crypto Fund, it remains to be seen how many more companies will follow suit, as Switzerland continues to establish its reputation as the cryptocurrency jurisdiction of choice for serious cryptocurrency businesses.
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