Emerging Swiss virtual currency fund, Crypto Fund AG, said on Tuesday it had been given an asset management license by the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma). The license allows the company to manage crypto-related investments within Switzerland and to solicit for others elsewhere. Crypto Fund will also be authorized to provide investment advice to corporate investors.
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Crypto Fund to ‘Accelerate Maturity’ in Crypto Markets After Getting Finma License
“The authorization represents our professional work over the last 12 months and is a major milestone for us,” said Mathias Maurer, chief operating officer of Crypto Fund, in an emailed statement to news.Bitcoin.com. “This [license] puts…[the company] on the same playing field with other globally recognized and regulated Swiss fund managers,” he wrote.
Without the license, issued under the Swiss Collective Investment Schemes Act, activities of crypto firms in the Alpine country will be limited and only “subject to fulfilling compliance with money laundering,” Maurer noted.
Founded in June 2017, Crypto Fund is the financial arm of Crypto Finance AG. The Zug-based company facilitates the implementation of blockchain technology through services such as asset management and brokerage, building bridges between investors and businesses that seek to utilize the technology.
Switzerland has taken a progressive stance towards cryptocurrency, legalizing its use and formalizing crypto transactions in various contexts. But some crypto projects still find it difficult to open bank accounts and regulatory clarity to cryptocurrency-focused bankers and investors is still not as clear as it might be.
In June, Finma licensed Crypto Finance to distribute collective investment schemes and funds to qualifying investors.
“The importance of crypto assets is growing and our aim is to accelerate maturity in these markets,” Crypto Finance chief executive officer Jan Brzezek said in an online statement.
He noted that the license was important in building confidence “for crypto assets around the world.” Brzezek is looking to seek approval for a passive investment fund in the future.
Progressive Switzerland Continues to Expand Crypto Space
Along with countries such as Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Cayman Islands and Mauritius, Switzerland has welcomed cryptocurrencies like bitcoin core and bitcoin cash, going against other governments’ sceptical view of digital coins as being opaque, volatile and speculative.
Uncertainty by legacy Swiss banks on the policing and implementation of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the financial market made them cautious, and reluctant to issue participants in the nascent market with company accounts, leading to the departure of at least two major players this year. However, banks have started to open up. The 86-year-old private bank Maerki Baumann now accepts crypto assets.
Faced with competition from crypto-affirming rivals including Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and the Cayman Islands, whose banks are more welcoming, Switzerland’s financial regulator got to work with lawmakers this year to provide clarity on the policing of the ICO market. The Crypto Fund license is the latest high-profile effort to build seamless synergies in the area.
Crypto-related businesses employ hundreds of people in Switzerland, with cryptocurrency legal tender in certain contexts. Switzerland sees virtual money and blockchain as a strategic innovation in global finance and is intent on maintaining and growing the jobs it has to offer in this field. The country’s tax regulatory authority considers cryptocurrencies to be assets, subject to wealth tax and declared on annual tax returns.
According to reports, Zug, also known as Crypto Valley, ranks favorably among the most crypto-friendly cities in the world, boasting more than 400 crypto businesses. Four of the 10 biggest ICOs in 2017 were registered in Switzerland, greater than any other country, according to a PwC report.
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