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Crypto Fund AG has been granted a license to distribute funds on behalf of “qualified investors” in Switzerland. The permission has been issued by the country’s financial market regulator, FINMA. The firm also seeks approval for another crypto-related service.
Crypto Fund AG, a Zug-based subsidiary of the Swiss Crypto Finance Group (CFG), has received a license to distribute collective investment schemes to qualified investors, Reuters reported. According to an announcement by CFG, this is the first time a crypto business is granted such permission by the authorities in Switzerland.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) confirmed the decision. However, the financial watchdog did not specify if this was in fact the first license of this kind.
According to another important clarification in the report, the permission does not mean the firm is allowed to operate as an asset manager for crypto funds. Nevertheless, the acquired license is a deliberate step, as confirmed by the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Jan Brzezek:
Getting the FINMA license is a big step in the right direction to establish us as the first point of contact for crypto assets.
Crypto Fund AG is also seeking another permission from financial regulators in Switzerland. This one would allow it to create a passive investment vehicle tracking a bench marked index of up to 10 of the most liquid cryptocurrency assets and digital tokens on the market. The index is calculated and maintained by Swiss bourse SIX.
Crypto-Friendly Nation with Positive Attitude
In recent years, Switzerland has established itself as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction. The country has its “Crypto Valley” in the canton of Zug, where Crypto Fund AG is registered. Many other crypto and blockchain businesses are either headquartered or represented there, including companies like the Chinese mining giant Bitmain. The Alpine nation has been considering the possibility to issue a state-backed cryptocurrency, although its central bank has admitted through an official that private digital currencies are better than any state-issued coin.
Businesses from the traditional financial sector have also benefited from the positive regulatory attitude of Swiss authorities. Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, a legacy financial institution, recently announced it was offering bank accounts to crypto companies, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. The bank’s management expressed desire to work with the young crypto sector, speaking of that as a “matter of credibility.”
But not only the private fintech industry and financial sector are interested in cryptocurrencies and the underlying distributed ledger technology. The fully state-owned Swiss Federal Railways, for example, has been selling bitcoin to its passengers for almost two years at over 1,000 ticket vending machines.
And the city of Zug, home of the Crypto Valley, is accepting payments in bitcoin and ether for municipal services, including company registrations. Authorities there are also planning to conduct a blockchain-based vote on questions of local importance.
Do you think Swiss regulators will issue more licenses for crypto-related financial services in the near future? Tell us in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Financial Club, National Police of Ukraine.
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