Fine Wines Become First Tokenized Securities Under New Swiss Blockchain Law

In effect from today, Switzerland's new blockchain law allows Sygnum to freely issue tokenized assets, starting with investable wines.

Feb 1, 2021 at 1:49 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 11:04 a.m. UTC

Sygnum, a digital-asset finance firm with a Swiss banking license, has tokenized its first set of assets under the nation's new law addressing the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT).

According to a press release on Monday, Sygnum Bank teamed up with Fine Wine Capital AG to tokenize a range of "investible fine wines," issuing tokens representing the alcoholic assets on Sygnum's Desygnate platform.

The move was enabled by the first phase of the new law, effective as of Feb. 1, with Sygnum and Free Wine Capital now free to register and transfer their tokenized assets without concern for any legal ramifications, according to the release.

The legislation is expected to open luxury goods such as diamonds and fine wine to a larger pool of investors by increasing accessibility and liquidity of such assets using blockchain technology.

"Tokenization of wine assets enables us to expand our private collector investor base to new private and institutional investors," said Fine Wine co-founder Alexandre Challand. "This provides them the opportunity to hold, trade or request a physical settlement of this unique asset in an efficient manner."

Tokenized assets issued on Desygnate have their ownership records recorded on the blockchain ledger that is legally binding. The ownership rights are transferable to others solely over the DLT system under Switzerland's new law.

"The legal provisions which come into effect today ensure that asset tokenization is now a viable alternative to traditional securitization," said Sygnum's head of regtech, Gino Wirthensohn.

First proposed by the Swiss Federal Council in 2019, the measure went through a rigorous legislative process before finally passing both the lower and upper chambers last summer. A second phase comes into effect at the start of August that will address infrastructure upgrades in the financial markets.

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