‘Standing Ovation for a Liberal Blockchain Framework’ by Mathias Ruch

What a memorable moment! Swiss President Ueli Maurer had just finished his speech about, let’s face it, the not very thrilling subject on regulation — and received standing ovations. 800 entrepreneurs, visionaries and tech-enthusiasts from the crypto and blockchain community welcomed the very straightforward regulatory approach by the Swiss Government that will have an impact on their blockchain projects and business models of the future.

Swiss President and Head of Finance Department, Ueli Maurer, at the end of his speech at the CV Summit

Since entrepreneurs usually do not have a great preference for laws and regulations, this big applause at the CV Summit in Zug came as a surprise to foreign visitors. Pioneers prefer a liberal framework that gives them maximum entrepreneurial freedom in developing their ideas.

On the other hand, politicians and legislators are usually very cautious. Quite a few of them prefer to anticipate dangerous or negative effects by regulating everything they can from the outset. This strategy of risk-avoidance or over-regulation has the effect of nipping promising ideas and innovations in the bud.

The Swiss Way

Fortunately, the Swiss Government has a very straightforward approach when it comes to regulating the blockchain and crypto space. Since Switzerland never had an industrial policy that supported a particular sector, the administration was always neutral and open to new industries and technologies. This means creating equal opportunities for all on the basis of existing laws and regulations.

This can be observed in the blockchain technology, to whose formation and propagation the Crypto Valley has contributed significantly. Instead of creating new blockchain laws such as those in Liechtenstein or Malta, the Federal Council wants to amend existing laws in order to further consolidate Switzerland as a leading hub for fintech and blockchain companies. The consultation process started on March 22nd, 2019 and will last until the end of June 2019. The focus is specifically on blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT). The goal is to improve the framework conditions and ensure the integrity of the Swiss financial center.

What has been done so far

The Swiss government also kept a cool head during the ICO hype of 2017 and the first half of 2018. In February 2018, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA published ICO guidelines on the application of financial market legislation to the processing of inquiries from ICO organizers. In December 2018, the Federal Council presented their report on the legal framework for blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the financial sector at CV Labs in Zug. The report laid the foundations for the legislative proposals that can currently be commented on by interested parties during the consultation process.

In addition to all government activities, the Blockchain Taskforce (today the Swiss Blockchain Federation) published a white paper and a position paper on Switzerland’s positioning as a global blockchain hub and on the legal framework to maintain and increase its attractiveness. In September 2018, the Swiss Bankers Association together with the Crypto Valley Association presented guidelines for opening corporate accounts for blockchain companies.

The Swiss President and Finance Minister Ueli Maurer embodies the liberal Swiss way.

It is based on a solid and reliable foundation and a close and fruitful exchange with the blockchain and the scientific community, politicians, legislators, banks and the associations involved. This is the reason why so many blockchain companies choose the Crypto Valley and its unique ecosystem as their headquarters. And it is the reason why the likeable, grounded typical Swiss Ueli Maurer received a standing ovation.

Article by Mathias Ruch, CEO of CV VC