We are based in the so-called “Crypto Valley” and we support clients with all kinds of blockchain, crypto or FinTech projects from a Swiss regulatory, legal and tax perspective. In particular, we advise on:
- Structuring and strategy advice for FinTech companies/groups
- Compliance of new business models with regulatory requirements
- Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) or Token Generating Events (TGE’s), including representation in regulatory and tax approval proceedings before the Swiss Financial Market Authority FINMA and Swiss tax authorities
- Implementation of blockchain / crypto payment options
- Establishing crypto/fiat currency exchanges
- Establishment of legal entities with cryptocurrencies with support of our in-house notary publics
- Implementation of internal procedures to comply with anti-money laundering requirements
- Data protection policies for Fintech related businesses
Industry sectors of our blockchain / crypto clients
Our clients are active in a broad range of industry sectors. As such we are or have supported blockchain projects and ICO’s in connection with digital payment solutions, cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto bot investment advice, mobile gaming, digitalization of art, online retailers or solar power providers. Our lawyers support early stage start-ups and well established financial institutions.
Range of services
With the experience of our diverse team of lawyers, we can cover a very broad range of legal services. However, we understand that blockchain entrepreneurs not only need legal and tax advice. For this reason we have built up a network of investment advisors, banks, marketing, IT and AML/KYC service providers in order to offer the whole range of services that is usually needed to undertake a succcessful ICO or for a successful implementation of a blockchain project.
Regulatory framework for ICO’s in Switzerland
Switzerland is one of the leading ICO countries in the world by recent studies. In the Canton of Zug, the so called “Crypto Valley”, hundreds of crypto or blockchain related businesses have been established in recent years. With its established ecosystem, the Canton of Zug is generally the preferred place of business for ICO projects.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authoritiy (FINMA) recognizes the innovative potential of distributed ledger/blockchain technology and it generally welcomes and supports all efforts to develop and implement blockchain solutions in the Swiss financial centre (cf. para. 1 of the FINMA Guidance 4/2017).
ICO’s are currently not governed by any specific regulations in Switzerland. However, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) repeatedly stated that Swiss legislation on financial markets is principle-based, such as the principle of technology neutrality. Due to the underlying purpose and specific characteristics of ICOs, various links to current regulatory law may exist depending on the structure of the services provided.
Classification of tokens
In assessing ICO’s, FINMA focuses on the economic function and purpose of the tokens (i.e. the blockchain-based units) issued by the ICO organiser. The relevant factors are the underlying purpose of the tokens and whether they are already tradeable or transferable at the point in time of issuance. FINMA generally categorises tokens into the following three main types (cf. FINMA Guidelines dated 16 February 2018, hybrid forms are possible):