Tag Archive: Sci & Tech

Swiss fintech firms venture deeper into Middle East

Swiss fintech company Instimatch has launched into the Middle East, having won a licence to operate in Qatar, and signed up its first Kuwaiti bank. The mineral and cash-rich region is proving a magnet for financial innovation from Switzerland. Instimatchexternal link’s digital platform directly connects deep-pocketed corporate, financial and municipal lenders with global investments.

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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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Swiss businesses and start-ups set record in 2019

Entrepreneurs are thriving in Switzerland, with a record number of companies launched in 2019 and unprecedented investment pumped into start-ups. Switzerland saw 44,482 companies founded last year, the highest number to date and a 3% increase on 2018, according to the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce. Investments in start-ups also grew strongly in 2019, topping CHF2 billion ($2.06 billion) for the first time.

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Swiss firms lauded for climate protection measures

Nestlé, Givaudan, Panalpina and the Bern Cantonal Bank are among 179 companies given a top “A” rating in a global survey of transparency and action on climate change. On Monday, non-profit group Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) published its study of 8,000 companies worldwide. Only 2% of them made it onto the A-list, the organisation said.

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Slice of prime Zurich real estate sold on blockchain

A building on Zurich’s most exclusive shopping street has been converted into a blockchain-powered investment following its CHF130 million ($134 million) sale. It is the latest attempt to unlock the value of bricks and mortar using digitally-coded tokens.

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Swiss scientists make 18-carat ‘plastic gold’

Five years ago researchers at the federal technology institute ETH Zurich developed the lightest gold in the world, which could float on a cappuccino. But there wasn’t much they could do with it. Now they have created 18-carat light gold which can be used for watches, jewellery and electronics.

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Crypto determined to emerge from the shadows

Global politicians, regulators, financiers and technology pioneers will soon be gathering in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. This has not been lost on the blockchain and crypto industry, which is redoubling efforts to engage with policy makers. Next week’s Crypto Finance Conference (CfC), in the up-market ski resort of St Moritz, has positioned itself to attract such big-hitters, days before they attend the annual WEF summit in nearby...

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‘Farting archaeobacteria’ awarded Swiss energy prize

Flatulent bacteria, electric vehicles and a supply network for greenhouses are among the winners of this year’s Watt d’Or competition organised by the Federal Office of Energy. “What is the link between flatulence and renewable energy?” the energy office asked. “The answer is Archie, the farting archaeobacteria.”

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Revolutionary idea to store green power for the grid

Stacking blocks of concrete with a crane to store energy and use the force of gravity to keep producing electricity when renewable sources are lacking: simple but revolutionary, the battery solution proposed by the Ticino start-up Energy Vault is attracting investors and customers from around the world.

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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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Technical problem shuts down Swiss nuclear power station

The Leibstadt nuclear power station in northern Switzerland has been disconnected from the power grid and shut down because of a technical fault. Once the cause has been clarified, the plant will be put back into operation as soon as possible, the operator said. It is not clear when that will be.

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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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Record number of new e-cars on Swiss roads

With 10,329 registrations so far this year, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have more new electric passenger cars than ever before. This is the first time the total hit the five-figure mark. The numbers reflect a 136.6% increase over last year’s fleet of new, completely electric passenger cars. What’s more, now e-cars represent 3.7% of all new cars in Switzerland and the principality next door, reported importer association Auto-Schweiz on Tuesday.

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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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Using lake water to help reduce Switzerland’s carbon footprint

Swiss lakes offer huge potential as renewable energy sources that can be used to cool and heat buildings. Geneva is expanding a pioneering thermal exchange project to help meet its climate goals, while other regions are taking the plunge. After transport, the second and third biggest sources of national greenhouse gas emissions are Swiss industry (20% of total in 2017) and households (18%).

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Novartis and Microsoft to develop drugs using AI

Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis and computer giant Microsoft have signed a five-year partnership deal aimed at transforming the Basel-based pharma’s business - from finance to manufacturing - using artificial intelligence.

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Libra stablecoin project ‘no threat’ to financial system

Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency poses no threat to central banks or to financial law and order, the head of the Geneva-based Libra Association tells swissinfo.ch. Many regulators, politicians and central banks have reacted with alarm to the proposed new digital payments system.

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Swiss central bank asked to issue stock exchange digital currency

The Swiss stock exchange wants the country’s central bank to issue a form of cryptocurrency to settle payments on its new digital securities trading platform. If the Swiss National Bank (SNB) agrees, it would represent a departure from its cautious policy on digital currencies. Stock exchange operator SIX Group revealed at the Crypto Valley Association conference that traders on its forthcoming SDX platform would be able to swap cash for a new...

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‘Mature’ Swiss crypto industry demands banking access

Representatives from Switzerland’s growing cryptocurrency and blockchain sector say it has matured into a viable and respectable industry that demands to be taken seriously by banks. “The hype, nonsense and scams have gone away,” says Daniel Haudenschild, President of the Crypto Valley Association (CVA), referring to a “wild west” phase over the last two years that saw several flimsy and phony companies set up and go bust, burning millions in...

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Industry challenges blockchain during hackathon

More than 200 hackers from 19 countries converged on Switzerland at the weekend to take part in the Swiss Blockchain Hackathon. Participants were challenged to come up with blockchain innovations in a variety of sectors as diverse as finance, logistics and agriculture. Switzerland has hosted numerous hackathons over the past few years, designed to stimulate digital entrepreneurship using cutting-edge technologies. Several events have already spun...

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