World’s First Crypto ETF to Be Listed on Swiss Exchange Next Week

Finally, a Crypto ETF Gets Approval

The last couple of years have seen many failed attempts by cryptocurrency firms to get approval from regulators for Bitcoin-based Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) especially in the US.

A crypto-based ETF would pave the way for institutional investors to participate in the trading of digital currencies without having to take physical possession of the assets.

SIX Swiss Exchange, Europe’s fourth-biggest exchange with a market capitalization of $1.6 trillion will list the world’s first crypto Exchange Traded Product (ETP) next week.

Amun AG, a cryptocurrency firm has obtained the regulatory approval to list an index fund on a traditional stock exchange. The development was reported by Trustnodes earlier on Saturday.

Hany Rashwan, co-founder and CEO of Amun said:

The Amun ETP will give institutional investors that are restricted to investing only in securities or do not want to set up custody for digital assets exposure to cryptocurrencies. It will also provide access for retail investors that currently have no access to crypto exchanges due to local regulatory impediments.

Why Switzerland?

Earlier in September Rashwan stated:

After exploring this across 23 different exchanges and territories around the world, we settled on Switzerland.

He further added:

We believe Switzerland to be the best jurisdiction for our base and intend, after launching our initial products on the SIX Swiss Exchange, to both launch additional products as well as dual-list across additional geographies and stock exchanges.
Switzerland has emerged as one of the favorite destinations for blockchain and cryptocurrency firms due to its positive stance towards digital assets.

Fund Structure

The fund includes Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash ABS and Litecoin making it the first such fund in the world to include Ripple, BCH and LTC.

The fund tracks the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and accordingly allocates assets. Currently, the fund includes 49% Bitcoin and around 29% Ripple.

Rashwan explained:

We plan on launching an index basket ETP first; it allows investors to simply ‘buy the market’ rather than trade specific crypto assets, though we plan on launching specific trackers for each asset in the future too.
When a customer buys the stock, market makers buy cryptos as per the distribution and send it to a custodian for safe keeping.

Specialist market makers, Jane Street, and Flow Traders are the authorized parties to trade under the ticker of HODL.

ETFs are the most popular products among exchange-traded products as customers can buy the underlying assets without having to bother about securing them.

Earlier crypto related products that have hit the market include Coinshares Bitcoin and ETH trackers and Grayscale’s pink sheet products. However, both these products have different legal structures.

Amun will charge a flat 2.5% annual management fee for providing the service.

Switzerland’s approval of the world’s first crypto ETF is a good development for attracting institutional investors who have so far kept away from the crypto markets due to security risks involved.


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Author: KULDEEP KAUL
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The first Crypto Bank will open in Switzerland in 2019

Nowadays banks aren’t ranked too high when it comes to public opinion. In fact, most people who initially got interested in crypto and blockchain, did so because of the lack of trust for the banking system. A new Swiss-based startup however, plans to unite cryptocurrencies and banking by creating the first crypto bank. SEBA Crypto AG managed to raise $103 million to create the crypto bank, which will offer cryptocurrency services. The ambitious project is headed by a couple of UBS bankers – Guido Buehler and Andreas Amschwand. SEBA aims to apply for a license from FINMA for banking and securities dealer.

Reuters reported the news first and if successful, the new crypto bank will be able to trade with cryptocurrencies and also handle investments from other banks and private investors. The new and exciting project can become a bridge between traditional banking institutions and the innovative crypto industry. Another exciting detail about the project is that it aims to provide many services for ICOs. The current state and reputation of ICOs is shaky to say the least and a stable bank helping out will be extremely beneficial. The new crypto bank will offer corporate financing and consultations.

A Crypto Bank will offer a lot of benefits to the crypto community
The chairman, Andreas Amschwand said that:

“In Switzerland we share a serious commitment from many authorities to establish and secure a comprehensive regulatory environment. We want both blockchain technology and crypto assets to enjoy this environment and have stable growth”

Zurich will be the first expansion of the project’s operations. The crypto bank plans for multiple expansions of its operations into many financial hubs starting in Q1 of 2019.

The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) also took preventative measures earlier this month. They wanted to prevent a massive crypto exit from Switzerland coming from regulations. This is why, SBA came up with basic guidelines for the banks willing to work with blockchain startups.

The initial guidelines tell banks that blockchain projects without an ICO, should receive treatment similar to small and medium companies. Projects with ICOs however, have a strict set of rules to follow. They fall directly under the purview of the Swiss know-your customer (KYS) and anti-money laundering (AML) laws.

In August this year, a private bank began accepting crypto assets as a form of payment.

Maerki Baumman also began taking assets earned from mining. Although the bank does not offer a direct service to crypto-related investments, they offer to provide interested clients with experts on the subject.

Even earlier this year, another bank, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg became the first Swiss bank willing to provide business accounts to companies who are blockchain and crypto-related. The bank however, is extremely selective of the clients it works with has reportedly has taken only 2 companies from the crypto/blockchain industry as clients.


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Author: Peio Purlev
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SWISS REGULATORS ENGAGE BANKS TO PREVENT EXODUS OF CRYPTOCURRENCY VENTURES

Switzerland’s financial market supervisor, FINMA held discussions with the country’s bankers’ association and the Swiss National Bank (SNB), on how to improve cryptocurrency ventures’ access to banks. This is in response to the exit by some crypto-enterprises that are opting to move their business to other territories.



 

SWITZERLAND THE CRYPTO-NATION

According to Reuters, Swiss regulators have been taking steps to maintain the country’s reputation as a cryptocurrency friendly jurisdiction and to prevent the departure of virtual currency projects that have traditionally had limited access to the formal financial system.

Over the years Switzerland has cultivated a reputation as one of the more cordial countries for cryptocurrency entities willing to set up shop or conduct ICOs.

In addition to having an aggregation of digital currency startups in a region recognized as Crypto Valley, the country has also expressed its support of cryptocurrencies as witnessed by the sentiments shared by the Swiss Economics Minister:

Now we have arrived at an innovative moment in the financial world. Cryptocurrencies are part of the fourth industrial revolution. We look at what possibilities can arise from it. For my part, I try to identify the opportunities, the risks and the opportunities, and decide: Is this a future business with future jobs or is it not? That’s why I support the circles that deal with it.

A few Swiss banks have already started offering Bitcoin futures and the country’s stock exchange announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange.

Even large players like Bitfinex have given Switzerland a stamp of approval of sorts by considering the country as its permanent residence.

All of these factors have contributed to the crypto-nation tag that Switzerland is aspiring for. However, the real issue lies with an acceptance by the country’s bankers.

LIMITED ACCEPTANCE FROM THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM

Only a small number of Swiss banks have allowed cryptocurrency ventures to do business with them making it difficult for such projects to be domiciled in the country. The number of institutions that are warm to digital currency focused business is also shrinking.

At least two Swiss banks have reportedly withdrawn services to cryptocurrency projects and groups, further reducing the already limited pool of institutions that handle basic, essential services like accepting deposits. This has triggered the exodus that the country is now facing.

Some cryptocurrency entities that want to carry out ICOs have resorted to setting up bank accounts in other territories like Liechtenstein and Gibraltar where they have access to more traditional banking services and are able to easily access their funds.FIN

At the same time, the banks in Switzerland that still accept cryptocurrency deposits do so under strict conditions. These include policies to only bank with ICO companies that have KYC and AML procedures compliant with Swiss regulations.

Cryptocurrency companies are also asked to pay initial assessment fees of up to US$2,500 by the banks before securing their services. Faced with such conditions, cryptocurrency enterprises are exploring other options.

SOLUTIONS IN REGULATION & DIALOGUE

Swiss banks’ hands-off approach on cryptocurrency projects has largely been driven by concerns surrounding the lack of clarity on the rules and regulations that apply in the space.

Some of the stickier points have to do with fraud and money laundering – areas that have dogged projects like ICOs and are the major issues affecting the requirements for opening a bank account.

According to a statement from the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA):

Banks are currently hesitant to open business accounts for companies with particular touchpoints to ICOs and cryptocurrencies – due to risks such as fraud or money laundering.

Switzerland has been working on this, seeking solutions through dialogue and the crafting of regulatory frameworks that will add clarity to the situation.

The Swiss Finance Minister invited the SNB, SBA, and FINMA to a discussion on bank accounts for cryptocurrencies, after which the SBA set to work to compile a system of checks and conditions that could be followed when opening accounts for cryptocurrency firms.

These measures are major steps towards a solution for Switzerland’s problem with the flight of cryptocurrency businesses. Regulatory action regarding cryptocurrencies is often a slow process and the efforts being taken by the Swiss are notable.

It remains to be seen if they are enough to change bankers’ opinions on doing business with virtual currency outfits and more importantly, stop these cryptocurrency companies from leaving.


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Author: NIGEL GAMBANGA 
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Swiss Banks to Welcome Cryptocurrency and break Singapore’s crypto dominance

Switzerland businesses are urging their government to allow banks in the country to add cryptocurrency transaction system, says the Financial Times.



In an exclusive interview to the economic publication, Crypto Valley’s Heinz Tannler says,

“We hope to clarify relationships by the end of the year at the latest. Time is pressing – other jurisdictions such as Malta and Singapore are very active and making a lot of effort to attract these companies. The lack of access to bank services is a significant competitive disadvantage.”

The environment in Switzerland is primed for virtual currency transactions, and it is only the government and regulatory restrictions which are preventing the booming of cryptocurrency businesses in the country.

Waiting for “Competitive Advantage”

The alpine country is already an established destination for traditional banking, with a large number of global and local institutions having set up their operations here. There already exists a mature banking ecosystem, infrastructure and necessary talent pool for optimized banking services in the region.

Besides, their reputation precedes them as an exclusive banking system, which fiercely protects the identity of their account owners. Hence, cryptocurrency‘s philosophy is already a part of the banking culture in Switzerland. Thus, all that the country’s administrators will have to do is to allow banks to accept the digital currency processes.

Thus far, however, the country has resisted such a move, despite 2017 being the year where Switzerland saw the second largest volume of ICO funds in the world.

Money Laundering Fears

If Swiss banks begin to accept crypto’s, then they will be on par with the pro-crypto environment in places like Singapore and Malta. These nations have built the ecosystem for such transactions and are attracting businesses in large volumes.

The laws here are custom-made for the easy use and adaptation of cryptocurrencies in their economies. On the other hand, the current banking laws in Switzerland are limiting such adaption as they follow traditional transaction system and thus fail to match the expectations of crypto industry.

However, the biggest road-block for Switzerland to permit use of cryptocurrencies is the fear of money laundering. Tannler says,

“I can understand that banks are careful with respect to ‘know your client‘ and anti-money laundering. But experts reckon the danger of money laundering is lower than in other sectors of the finance industry.”

Things are beginning to change at this level as well, says Tannler, “We have to push certain national institutions to resolve this problem quickly and effectively, but that now seems to be going well,” Tannler shared in the interview.

The first of these changes towards mainstream cryptocurrency use was evident on June 19, 2018. The FINMA has for the first time allowed a company, Crypto Fund AG, the “license to distribute investment funds.” The last previous such helpful laws for cryptocurrency use in the country was in early 2018, when FINMA set up ‘regulatory guidelines’ for ICOs.

Zug, is the capital of cryptocurrency movement in the country and has adopted various technologies to take this forward. It has even explored of the blockchain technology in its voting systems.

By introducing changes, Switzerland has the opportunity to increase its presence in the crypto industry and improve access in the banking services for businesses which are based on cryptocurrency and blockchain.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Pushpa Naresh
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Switzerland Government Calls for Study on State Cryptocurrency “e-franc”

Switzerland’s federal government has called for a study into the risks and opportunities of launching the “e-franc”, a proposed state cryptocurrency powered by blockchain technology.

The Federal Council, Switzerland’s seven-member executive council that constitutes the federal government, has thrown its support behind a 32-year-old Swiss lawmaker Cédric Wermuth’s call for a formal government study into the possibility of launching a state cryptocurrency.

The politician, who is vice president of the Social Democratic Party, has championed the formal proposal at a time when a number of other nations including the likes of China, Singapore, Canada, Israel, England among several others are actively researching the issuance of a state cryptocurrency backed by the central bank.

In backing the young politician’s call for the study, the Swiss Federal Council said in statements

The Federal Council is aware of the major challenges, both legal and monetary, which would be accompanied by the use of an e-franc. It asks that the proposal be adopted to examine the risks and opportunities of an e-franc and to clarify the legal, economic and financial aspects of the e-franc.

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It’s up to the lower house of the Swiss Parliament, the National Council, to decide if it wants to back the federal request for the study. If approved, the task falls on the Swiss finance ministry to research and ultimately produce the government-backed study.

It’s a noteworthy development from Switzerland, a country commonly seen among the friendliest jurisdictions for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), a radical new method fundraising through cryptocurrencies. Earlier in February, Switzerland’s financial watchdog and regulator, the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), published guidelines for operators to undertake ICOs in the country.

In January, Swiss economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann called on Switzerland to become “the crypto nation” and urged the nation to build on the proactive lead taken through embracive initiatives like in the city of Zug, a Swiss town that has come to known as the ‘Crypto Valley’.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author Samburaj Das
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