Swiss tech startup Smart Valor has become one of the few blockchain companies based in the country to win approval from regulators, after the firm was approved to act as a financial intermediary, Reuters reported.
Having been granted official approval from regulator FINMA, the company joins a select band of firms that have been approved by the national regulator to offer cryptocurrency services in the country, in a move that will now pave the way for the launch of their own dedicated cryptocurrency trading platform.
Switzerland is known for its emerging blockchain sector, centred on the so-called ‘Crypto Valley’ where a number of blockchain and cryptocurrency startups have been founded. However, a lack of legal clarity means many banks are still unwilling to provide services to crypto businesses, and the regulators have to date been somewhat reluctant to grant formal approvals.
As a result, Smart Valor will now be subject to additional compliance obligations, especially around anti-money laundering provisions.
Both FINMA and the self-regulatory anti-money laundering body VQF, to which Smart Valor will directly report, refused to confirm whether any other firms had been approved to trade as financial intermediaries.
However, the decision is seen as significant, in light of the difficulties other crypto businesses have had in setting up shop in Switzerland.
Now, the firm is eyeing the launch of a crypto trading platform, which it hopes will pave the way for opportunities around tokenization.
Smart Valor Chief Executive Officer Olga Feldmeier said the concept of tokenization made possible by their platform would change methods of ownership in future.
“Most of these investments have previously only been available to a small elite of high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors…Tokenization transforms the way people own things, improves liquidity, and makes these investment opportunities accessible to a broader audience of investors,” Feldmeier told the news outlet.
In a statement, Smart Valor said the platform would expand to include more tokens and other digital assets in future, noting, “Pending regulatory approval, the VALOR platform will expand its offering to asset-backed tokens, such as equity in blockchain companies, blockchain-related infrastructure projects, real estate, crypto funds, venture capital, and private equity funds.”