Swiss State Secretary: Standards Not Regulation Will Boost Crypto Market

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Switzerland’s State Secretary has commented that fintech has moved beyond “hype-cycle” into a stage where standards are now more important than regulation. Secretary Joerg Gasser was speaking at this week’s Singapore Fintech Festival.

The Swiss minister pointed out the increased demand for fintech regulation internationally was not necessarily in the best interest of promoting the industry. Improved market efficiency within the sector has lead to a situation where more focus can now be placed on technologically-neutral regulations based on a far more collaborative approach toward blockchain technology. Standards, Gasser maintained, are now the key element moving forward.

During the panel discussion entitled ‘Capital Markets: Killer Use Case for Blockchain?’, Gasser pointed out that powerful investors are now getting into blockchain, which has increased the demand for regulation. But adoption can only be assured if industry standards continue to be maintained.

He cited his native country, Switzerland, as an example of principle-based and technology-neutral regulation, a country in which regulation was seen as cooperative rather than punitive, encouraging innovation through government support.

This was demonstrated earlier this year when Switzerland took another step along that road with the country’s stock exchange, SIX,  announcing that it will open its doors to digital currencies. The new platform being built by SIX will offer integrated post-transaction services such as deal settlement and asset custody through DLT.

SIX, regulated by national regulator Finma and the Swiss central bank, says that it plans to roll out its cryptocurrency service in the first half of 2019. SIX’s chief executive, Jos Dijsselhof commented:

“For us, it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry. The financial industry now needs to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities.”

With SEBA Crypto AG expecting to be licensed as a securities dealer and bank by June of next year, it appears that banks are finally warming to the concept of digital assets. Guido Bühler, CEO of SEBA Crypto AG, suggests that five large asset managers from overseas have also shown some interest in the bank.

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The bank plans to offer custodial services with plans to raise a further USD 206 million through an ICO in order to expand its operations into major financial hubs in the new year.

 

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