In other countries, politicians express concern about the cryptocurrency craze, citing worries about security, regulation, volatility and a speculative bubble. Not in Switzerland.

The affluent Alpine country wanted “to be the crypto-nation”, Johann Schneider-Ammann, economics minister, told journalists as he arrived for a private crypto finance conference in St Moritz last week. Of the 10 biggest proposed initial coin offerings — by which start-ups raise funds by selling tokens — four have used Switzerland as a base, according to PwC.

The burgeoning ICO industry is burnishing Switzerland’s business friendly reputation and sometimes buccaneering spirit — a reputation spoilt by the past decade’s scandals over the help its traditional private banks gave to wealthy clients in evading tax. As Mr Schneider-Ammann spoke in St Moritz, the government in Bern announced an ICO working group to consider possible actions by regulators and lawmakers.

Separately, the Finma financial regulator is expected soon to give an update on how it is policing ICOs. “We think there is huge potential — but the market is not as disciplined as we want,” says Jörg Gasser, state secretary at the Swiss finance ministry.

“We want it [the ICO market] to prosper but without compromising standards or the integrity of our financial markets.” “They want Switzerland to be the place to make it happen — but they don’t want to be seen as the ‘wild west’. It is Swiss pragmatism,” says Martin Eckert, partner at MME, a Swiss law firm. Read more from…

thumbnail courtesy of