FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, published guidelines about ICO (Initial Coin Offering) regulation. The guidelines aim to regulate the booming market in order to prevent money laundering, while giving investors and organizers a higher degree of mutual trust.

Every ICO will be rated separately as each is at least a little different, and the tokens being offered have been divided into three categories:

  • Payment tokens

    Tokens with an exclusively transactional purpose. These tokens must conform to current AML (anti money laundering) laws and won’t be considered securities.

  • Utility tokens

    Used to access products and services. Not securities for as long as they are used in that way. Not regulated, but it’s doubtful any such purely utilitarian token exists.

  • Asset tokens

    If tokens produce dividends, they’re considered asset tokens. Such tokens are considered securities and will be regulated as such. If the token acts as a company stock, the tokens will fall under civil law requirements.

Most tokens are still hybrids of the above categories, so it’ll be very difficult to regulate them as exclusively a single type.

Jörg Gasser, the Secretary of Switzerland’s Ministry of Finance, told Financial Times:

“We think there is huge potential — but the market is not as disciplined as we want. We want it [the ICO market] to prosper but without compromising standards or the integrity of our financial markets.”

While countries like China are banning cryptocurrency operations left and right, Switzerland has already been declared as a cryptocurrency heaven by many. To attract even more investors and startups, the Swiss Minister of Economy, Johann Schneider-Ammann said Switzerland intends to become the “crypto-nation”.


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