Swiss Financial Watchdog Issues Country’s First Crypto Asset Management License

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has issued the country’s first cryptocurrency asset management license to a crypto investment fund, Swiss-centered media outlet Swissinfo reports today, Oct. 9.

The recipient is Crypto Fund, a subsidiary founded in 2017 by Zug-based Crypto Finance AG. The fund has reportedly until now only been able to distribute offshore-based cryptocurrency funds under FINMA rules. The new license, however, will permit the firm to legally offer a wide spectrum of collective investment products that track Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto assets, including domestic funds.

The license also allows the firm to provide investment consultancy services for institutional clients — essentially affording it the same freedom as that given to traditional Swiss asset managers, as the article notes.

According to Swissinfo, there is a crush of rival crypto funds “queuing up” to get approval for a gamut of crypto-related products and services, which include applications for a license to offer full banking services for cryptocurrency operators in the country.

Recently reported on a Swiss blockchain startup that won approval to operate in the local financial market under the Financial Services Standards Association (VQF), which is authorized by FINMA to oversee anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. The firm in question is also reportedly seeking a banking license to enable it to offer securities investments in future.

As previously reported, Zug known in the crypto industry by the moniker, “Crypto Valley,” given the high concentration of blockchain- and crypto-related projects active in the town.

This summer, local companies partnered with the Zug government to trial a blockchain-based municipal voting system.

Switzerland more broadly is markedly proactive when it comes to regulating the new crypto space. In February of this year, FINMA published detailed guidelines on ICOs, according to which many projects — specifically utility and asset tokens — are to be regulated under securities laws, whereas payment tokens fall under the Swiss Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) Act.

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