Switzerland’s principal stock exchange has announced that it is building a platform for the trading, settlement, and custody of digital assets. This announcement follows reports of government officials working on giving crypto businesses access to banking services.
SIX Launching Digital Exchange
SIX, the operator of Switzerland’s principal stock exchange, SIX Swiss Exchange, announced Friday that it “is building a fully integrated trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets.”
The SIX exchange is fully regulated by Swiss Authorities, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) and the Swiss National Bank, as a Financial Market Infrastructure operator. The company plans for its new platform, called Swiss Digital Exchange (SDX), to “enjoy the same standard of oversight and regulation.”
Citing that SDX will bridge “the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities,” the company claims:
SIX Digital Exchange will be the first market infrastructure in the world to offer a fully integrated end to end trading, settlement and custody service for digital assets. The service will provide a safe environment for issuing and trading digital assets, and enable the tokenization of existing securities and non-bankable assets to make previously untradeable assets tradable.
SIX CEO Jos Dijsselhof commented, “this is the beginning of a new era for capital markets infrastructures. For us it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry.”
Will the Platform Trade Bitcoin Directly?
While the official announcement by SIX does not mention whether the platform will support the direct trading of cryptocurrencies, a few publications indicated that it will trade bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Business Insider wrote, “SIX’s new platform, set to launch in the first half of next year, will offer end-to-end trading, settlement, and custody service for digital assets such as bitcoin and ICO [Initial Coin Offering] tokens.” The Financial Times wrote, “The platform being built by the Six exchange is designed to be used for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and will be based mainly on Blockchain distributed ledger technology.”
However, SIX clarified in a tweet:
First we will enable the tokenization of bankable assets like stocks or bonds and, potentially, at a later stage non-bankable assets. Whether we will also make cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or existing ‘ICO tokens’ available, is still open.
Meanwhile, SIX has been maintaining Crypto Market Index 10. Its objective “is to reliably measure the performance of the largest and most liquid crypto assets and tokens and provide an investable benchmark for this asset class,” its website describes. “The prices for the crypto assets and tokens are obtained from multiple exchanges.”
Switzerland Wants to Become Crypto Nation
Recently, news.Bitcoin.com reported on government officials and bankers working on giving crypto businesses access to banking services since Swiss banks have reportedly been refusing accounts to crypto firms.
The country’s economic minister, Johann Schneider-Ammann, said earlier this year that his country wants to become the “crypto nation.” So far, the canton of Zug, promoting itself as the heart of “crypto valley”, has been attracting crypto start-up’s with favourable tax and regulatory environment.
In February, Finma published guidelines for ICOs after seeing a sharp increase in the number tokens planned or executed in the country and a corresponding increase in the number of inquiries about the applicability of regulation.
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