Swiss regulator: „Probably“ no banking licence for Bitcoin Suisse
Bitcoin Suisse says although it is unlikely to get a licence, there are still „many other options“.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority is the country’s main financial regulator and has issued an „unfavourable prognosis“ regarding Bitcoin Suisse’s application for a banking licence.
According to an official statement on Wednesday, Bitcoin Suisse’s current application is not to be approved as „various elements relevant to licensing law make the granting of a licence unlikely.“ As a result, Bitcoin Code has decided to withdraw its application.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Bitcoin Suisse CEO Arthur Vayloyan remained optimistic, stating that the company still has „so many options available“. He explained that the company’s reputation for custody and trading of cryptocurrencies has put it in a good position as institutional adoption of digital assets grows exponentially.
Vayloyan said the crypto market landscape and the firm’s position in it had changed significantly since the original licence application in July 2019. Bitcoin Suisse could reapply if it wanted to.
A banking licence could be beneficial as securities tokens gain traction
As Vayloyan explained, FINMA published guidelines for Initial Coin Offerings in February 2018. In it, tokens were divided into three categories: Payment, Benefit and Asset. The latter is considered a security. Today, when a company obtains a banking licence in Switzerland, it automatically also obtains a broker-dealer licence. Consequently, a firm with a banking licence could buy and sell securities. This gives them a head start in the still young field of digital securities.
„Assuming that the market for securities tokens gains momentum, it would be a strategic shame not to fully participate in this opportunity and get a piece of this pie,“ Vayloyan said.
FINMA found that there were clear weaknesses in the „money laundering defences“ in Bitcoin Suisse’s application, Vayloyan said. The firm was aware of the gaps in this regard and was working closely with regulators to address them, he said. „For regulators, we are as transparent as we can be,“ he said.
Bitcoin Suisse is a crypto broker and intermediary headquartered in the Swiss canton of Zug. This is also known as „Crypto Valley“ due to the large number of cryptocurrency and blockchain companies and the advanced regulatory environment with regard to digital assets.
Earlier this year, Bitcoin Suisse introduced a payment solution that allows residents of the canton to pay their taxes in cryptocurrency. The projects with local companies and the government, as well as the bull market, enabled the company to hire 120 more employees last year.