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Swiss authorities to consider blockchain supervision


Reports South Korea and China could ban cryptocurrency trading has sparked worries of a wider regulatory crackdown (Keystone) - Click to enlarge

The federal authorities have set up a special working group to look into how to properly oversee blockchain technologies and initial coin offerings (ICO). The Swiss taskforce is set to report back by the end of 2018.

The State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) announced on Thursday that it had established a blockchain/ICO working group to review the legal framework and to identify any need for action alongside the Federal Office of Justice, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and in consultation with the financial sector.

Last year FINMA began investigating a number cryptocurrency crowdfunding offerings, or ICOs, for possible breaches of Swiss law, hinting at greater regulatory oversight of some of the most prominent blockchain projects.

+ Bitcoin and cash cast a shadow over banks

But the task force will take a broader look at what supervision may be needed.

“The aim of this work is to increase legal certainty, maintain the integrity of the financial centre and ensure technology-neutral regulation. This clarification of the regulatory framework should help to ensure that Switzerland remains an attractive location in this area,” the finance ministry statement said.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, has fallen on exchanges in recent days as fears of a regulatory crackdown on the market have spread.

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