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Switzerland Wants to Open a Sandbox to Attract More Blockchain Startups

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on February 1, 2017 at 16:10 BST
News

Switzerland’s government is considering new regulations in light of fintech advancements such as blockchain, with the aim of creating a more welcoming atmosphere for startups working in the space.

The Swiss Federal Council – a seven-member group that serves as the country’s collective head of government – said today that it is seeking consultations on regulatory changes for the domestic financial industry to account for fintech.

Specifically, the government is proposing that firms that accept less than 1m Swiss francs in deposits (just over $1m USD) be classified differently than other institutions – a move that would create a so-called "regulatory sandbox" within which startups could experiment with new technologies. The Federal Council is also eyeing changes to licensure requirements below a certain depositary threshold.

While the statement was light on details about when such changes would be put in place, the Council indicated that it would draft possible changes as needed.

The Council noted:

"Due to the rapidly progressing digitisation in the financial sector, in particular in the blockchain area, it can be assumed that business models will develop which are not yet conceivable today. The Federal Council will follow these developments closely also in the future and will swiftly propose the necessary regulatory adjustments if required."

The development is the latest indication that Swizterland’s government wants to attract blockchain startups.

The country is already home to a number of startups in the ecosystem, with some of those companies specifically citing a more permissive regulatory environment. Preliminary approval for bitcoin wallet service Xapo to operate in the country, announced last week, highlighted the kind of accommodation taking place.

Others, including railyway operator SBB as well as a consortium of Swiss business including its major telecom provider, have also pursued deployments of the tech.

Image via Shutterstock

Federal CouncilRegulationSwitzerland

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