Category Archive: 6a.) Bitcoin&Blockchain

How crypto mining tried, but failed, to gain a Swiss toehold

There was a time when any Tom, Dick or Harry could create (or “mine”) bitcoin with a modified PC. Now only warehouses packed full of specialised computing gear stand any real chance. The bones of defunct crypto mines litter the Swiss Alps.

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Swiss consortium launches bitcoin on Tezos blockchain

A consortium of Swiss cryptocurrency companies has incorporated bitcoin onto the Tezos blockchain. The move brings Tezos, which has based its foundation in Switzerland, a step closer to rival blockchain Ethereum. Launched in 2018, the Tezos blockchain was designed to play host to a new generation of decentralised finance, business and social projects.

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Swiss regulator cracks down on fraudulent crypto activities

Switzerland’s financial regulator brought charges against eight “initial coin offering” (ICO) blockchain projects for breaching anti-money laundering rules last year. ICOs raise money from the public by selling digital tokens that promise to hold future value for the consumer.

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Swiss parliament assumes control of Crypto probe

The Swiss parliament has insisted that it will take control of and merge the ongoing investigations into the Crypto spying affair that has rocked the Alpine nation. On Wednesday, members of the parliamentary control delegation decided to immediately take over the direction of investigation launched by the Federal Council (executive branch) on February 11.

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Crypto investigator still needs permission to view files

The man tasked with investigating the Crypto spying affair for the Swiss government doesn’t have direct access to all the relevant documents. Niklaus Oberholzer, formerly a federal judge, must ask the federal authorities whenever he wants to access sensitive files.

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Ex-cabinet members had knowledge of Crypto business dealings, say papers

The Crypto leaks scandal continues to shake the Swiss political establishment. The Sunday papers report that some former federal ministers and parliamentarians had ties with the Swiss firm that helped the CIA and German intelligence listen to conversations of foreign powers for decades.

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Former Swiss defence minister denies knowledge of Crypto-CIA links

Was former Swiss cabinet minister Kaspar Villiger aware that the Swiss firm Crypto AG was controlled by the CIA? Swiss media say newly released CIA documents support this claim, but the ex-defence minister vehemently denies it. The CIA records are “not correct”, the former defence minister (1989-1995) told Swiss public television, SRF, in a statement published on Wednesday.

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Investigation opened into Swiss encryption firm linked to CIA

The Swiss government has opened an investigation into a decades-old spying affair involving Swiss firm Crypto, following reports by Swiss public broadcaster SRF, German broadcaster ZDF and The Washington Post. The government confirmed on Tuesday that it had opened an investigation into the reports that Crypto, a Zug-based communications encryption firm, was secretly used by the CIA and West German intelligence services for decades.

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Central banks weigh up response to Libra and bitcoin

Central banks are contemplating a response to alternative money systems, such as bitcoin or Libra, with new digital versions of their own currencies. They go by the name of Central Bank Digital Currencies, or CBDCs. Libra’s stablecoin project launched in Geneva last year was a “watershed” moment that “kicked everyone in the pants”, Michael Sung, a professor at Fudan University, told the recent Crypto Finance Conferenceexternal link (CfC) in St...

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Swiss ski resort accepts bitcoin for settling tax bills

The iconic ski resort of Zermatt has become the second local authority in Switzerland to allow residents to pay their tax bills using the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Zermatt, which lies in the shadow of the Matterhorn mountain, said on Tuesday that it will allow people living there to pay the whole range of taxes in bitcoin with no limit on the amount they contribute in the cryptocurrency.

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The spirit of Fintech past and the spectre of Fintech future

It was a busy 2019 for Swiss fintech and there is promise for more to come in 2020. Here’s a round-up of fintech past and my observations of how things may shape up in the coming months. The year 2019 started with the arrival of a new breed of Fintech banking license, designed to allow small financial players to accept up to CHF100 million in deposits, but with restrictions.

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Retail digital franc remains taboo for Switzerland

Switzerland has ruled out the possibility of a central bank-issued digital franc for the general public in the foreseeable future. The government has backed up the Swiss National Bank’s (SNB) fears that this would lead to financial instability. Responding to a parliamentary question, the Federal Council on Friday said an ongoing project to produce a digital franc that is restricted for use by financial players was a more sensible option than a...

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Blockchain shares – who needs lawmakers?

The Swiss parliament will soon get to grips with merging the current financial system with new blockchain architecture. This is a bit like refitting your whole house to make sure the swanky new furniture and fittings blend in. Switzerland has deliberately chosen to not to tear the whole house down and build it again in a new style.

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Swiss crypto sector welcomes proposed blockchain law

Proposed updates to the banking, corporate and financial infrastructure laws to accommodate Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) have been broadly welcomed by Switzerland’s growing blockchain industry. Parliament is now set to debate the wide-ranging set of proposals presented by the governmentexternal link on Wednesday.

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Blockchain: your questions answered

Blockchain: the very name fascinates and bamboozles in equal measure. Although businesses based around the technology are popping up all over Switzerland, many still wonder what exactly it does and how it can improve their lives. The potential possibilities are myriad, yet many still appear tantalisingly out of reach.

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Bitmain-backed crypto firm Matrixport opens Zurich office

Singapore-based crypto financial services company Matrixport is setting up a European operations centre in Switzerland. Matrixport has close links to the Chinese cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain, which is simultaneously winding down its Swiss presence.

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Swiss company shares traded as digital tokens

A Swiss-German consortium has successful traded company shares on a blockchain-style digital platform using a Swiss franc-backed stablecoin to instantly settle the transaction. The trade marked a significant step towards creating a new breed of stock exchange.

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Swiss crypto bank SEBA outlines ambitions

Crypto bank SEBA is confident of attracting a “three-digit” number of Swiss clients by the end of the year before setting its sights on global expansion and raising more than CHF100 million ($101 million) in extra funding from the public.

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Swiss payments system aims to link bitcoin and retailers

Prominent European payment infrastructure provider Worldline has teamed up with financial services firm Bitcoin Suisse to allow cryptocurrency enthusiasts to spend their bitcoin in Swiss shops. Worldline last year took over SIX Payment Services, the former arm of the Swiss stock exchange group that provides payment card terminals in 85,000 Swiss retail outlets.

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Is blockchain real estate in need of renovation?

Our regular analysis of developments in the world of fintech and Crypto Nation. Property has for some time been hailed as prime real estate for blockchain disruption. The incorruptible ledger will replace mountains of paperwork while interested parties will have a sovereign claim to validate transactions in property sales.

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