On Tuesday (July 3), the roadblocks positioned by Switzerland’s financial institutions to halt the advance of Bitcoin could be swept away when the Swiss Central Bank, the Federal Government of Switzerland and the Swiss Financial Supervisor convene in an attempt to make their tiny but massively influential country one of the most crypto-friendly in the world.
Switzerland: Europe’s No.1 Crypto Nation?
In light of the amazing popularity that cryptocurrency already enjoys among Swiss citizens, fans of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum could soon be using their crypto to carry out conventional banking operations without restriction by the end of 2018. Should that happen, Switzerland would become the first country in the world to eliminate crypto restrictions in banking.
Switzerland has previously made efforts to embrace cryptocurrency, despite skepticism among European regulators. Earlier this year, the Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, was only half joking when he said that Switzerland had everything in place to become a “Crypto-Nation.” In 2017 Switzerland were ranked second to the US among nations that had earned the most revenue from the controversial practice of the ICO(Initial Coin Offering). Even the much maligned city of Zug currently hosts more than 200 companies that offer blockchain services.
Zug: The Crypto Guinea Pig
The breathtakingly beautiful Swiss town of Zug has been used as a test case, and based off information gathered, many business operators attempting to use cryptocurrency in Zug needed to seek out external support from banks in Liechtenstein and similar nations in order to access the necessary services. In a nutshell, Zug’s local financial institutions refused to accept digital currency, stating their rejection was a standard measure used against money laundering and other monetary crimes, and was used for the protection of customers.
However, the feeling is that Zug’s stance is based purely on preordained, anti-crypto rhetoric. Heinz Tännle is Zug’s financial director and a blockchain believer, and he made it clear that in the wake of the above findings, the regulatory bodies of Switzerland may well choose to eliminate prior blockchain-based obstacles, therefore allowing companies associated with the ecosystem of digital currency to operate with local branches of Swiss banks in the exact same way as traditional, fiat-currency based companies.
In a Swiss TV news interview, Tännler said:
“We hope to open the relations at the latest by the end of this year. Time is short, as other jurisdictions such as Malta and Singapore have shown themselves to be more open and have put great efforts into attracting companies from the space of digital currencies. The lack of access to banking services has become a disadvantage that makes us less competitive.”
Regarding the Holy Trinity of the Swiss Central Bank, the Federal Government of Switzerland and the Swiss Financial Supervisor, Tännler was adamant that they are 100% on board:
“We have to put pressure on certain national institutions to respond to these problems quickly and effectively. For now things seem to be 100% on track.”