Payment21 gains regulatory upgrade in Switzerland

The company that operates payment processor Payment21 has secured the Swiss Directly Subordinated Financial Intermediary (DSFI) license, making it the first cryptocurrency-related company to be directly supervised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

Under the regulatory upgrade, Moving Media GmbH now falls under the purview of FINMA for compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) rules. Moving Media was formerly a member of Geneva’s Association Romande des Intermédiaires Financiers (ARIF), a self-regulatory organization under Swiss private law.

Payment21 claims to be “the first regulated [cryptocurrency] payment processor with strong focus on the compliance needs of enterprise-level businesses and the legal prerequisites of their banking partners.” The company said it has been in the e-commerce business since 2002, starting off as a payments software provider by developing a check scanning solution for online vendors. Since then, the Swiss company transitioned into a payment services provider and now are a registered financial intermediary.

Bernhard Kaufmann, managing director of Moving Media GmbH, said securing a government license is “crucial when establishing a payments business,” and getting one in Switzerland “is a key differentiator in the competitive landscape.”

“We are committed to meeting the legal requirements of the Swiss financial marketplace. Our handling of compliance issues enriches the digital currency ecosystem, and demonstrates that Swiss regulators embrace competitiveness in financial services, and truly encourage Fintech innovation in the digital era,” Kaufmann said.

Switzerland, which already plays host to a number of cryptocurrency companies, has been vocal with its intent to catch up with the rapidly changing financial technology landscape.

In 2016, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Finance (FDF) outlined a plan that included a license specifically for fintech companies as well as a regulatory “sandbox” or an innovation area for experimental firms. At the time, FDF said it plans to delve deeper into digital currencies as well as other applications for blockchain.

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