Swiss ICO guidelines: Switzerland’s financial regulators have issued new guidelines which would treat some locally sold ICO tokens as securities in support of the cryptocurrency market.
In its press release today, the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) acknowledged the sharp rise in the number of ICOs launching in Switzerland. Currently, four of the 10 biggest proposed initial coin offerings are based there, according to PwC. This has prompted the financial authority to set out new rules and clarify how they are to be regulated given “the dynamic market and the high level of demand.”
According to FINMA, the most relevant issues with ICOs right now are money laundering and securities laws. The guidelines released today will create transparency for market participants — including a clearly outlined token classification system — to minimize their risks with a reliable set of information.
FINMA said it would focus on the economic function and purpose of the tokens and whether they are already tradeable or transferable — these will be the primary factors in how they will be classified.
These ICO guidelines will follow a similar path as those released by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last year. Specifically, FINMA will determine the applicability of regulation to the ICO tokens on a case-by-case basis.
Mark Branson, FINMA’s CEO, provided the following comments in its official statement:
“Our balanced approach to handling ICO projects and inquiries allows legitimate innovators to navigate the regulatory landscape and so launch their projects in a way consistent with our laws protecting investors and the integrity of the financial system.”
It is widely known that Switzerland has been welcoming the fast-expanding crypto market with open arms, having launched a “Crypto Valley” in the Swiss city of Zug. In addition, its economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann has said he wants the country to be known as the “crypto-nation.”
Today’s announcement further establishes Switzerland as an attractive location for ICOs. Last month, the Swiss government launched a review of the cryptocurrency industry, which could result in legislative changes designed to support this market.
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