Swiss Regulator Licenses Two New Blockchain Companies as It Shores up Legal Requirements

Two Swiss startups received broker dealer licenses as FINMA hardens its AML requirements.

AccessTimeIconAug 26, 2019 at 3:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:22 a.m. UTC
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Swiss financial authority FINMA offered guidance this week on anti-money laundering (AML) requirements for blockchain-based companies even as it granted broker-dealer licenses to two new blockchain companies.

FINMA considers AML to be "technology-neutral" and expects all payments, including blockchain transactions, to follow the requirements. The gist is simple: "Institutions supervised by FINMA are only permitted to send cryptocurrencies or other tokens to external wallets belonging to their own customers whose identity has already been verified and are only allowed to receive cryptocurrencies or tokens from such customers," the regulators wrote.

FINMA oversees Switzerland's financial system, from banking to securities dealers and even Facebook's cryptocurrency project, Libra. Earlier today it was reported FINMA officials met with U.S. Congressional Representatives over Libra.

"FINMA-supervised institutions are thus not permitted to receive tokens from customers of other institutions or to send tokens to such customers," they wrote. Further, FINMA does not allow the passing of tokens from unregulated wallets and requires AML information for all parties.

In addition to this announcement, FINMA has issued the first "banking and securities licenses" to two blockchain companies, SEBA Crypto AG and Sygnum AG. These are the first companies registered in Switzerland as broker-dealers with a specific blockchain focus. These companies will be required to follow the new AML rules.

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