Switzerland’s financial regulator has responded to the booming interest in digital currencies such as bitcoin with a rulebook to support those involved in the market.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) said it would regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs), a fundraising method that has soared in popularity over the last year, to apply anti-money laundering laws to some sales.
Eager to attract more start-ups as other regulators show resistance to cryptocurrencies, Switzerland has already launched a ‘Crypto Valley’ in the Swiss city of Zug, while economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann has said he wants the country to be the “crypto-nation”.
According to FINMA’s press release, the creation of the guidelines was prompted by an increasing number of ICOs taking place within Switzerland, in conjunction with the lack of clarity about how or whether they should be regulated, noting that “creating transparency at this time is important given the dynamic market and the high level of demand.”
FINMA writes that currently there is currently no ICO-specific regulation in place or “consistent legal doctrine” for handling ICOs in the country.
In order to assess future ICOs and determine which laws apply, FINMA says it will break ICO tokens into three categories: payment tokens, utility tokens, and asset tokens.