Switzerland is one of the leading locations in the area of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain. Especially in the financial sector, a growing fintech and blockchain ecosystem has developed in Switzerland. For Switzerland as a business location, it is crucial for the legal framework to enable innovation and for new technologies to be able to thrive. At the same time, Switzerland's integrity and good reputation as a business location must continue to be guaranteed in this area too.
The Federal Council report of 14 December 2018 on the legal basis for blockchain and DLT provided an analysis of the relevant framework conditions, clarified the need for action and proposed concrete measures. Analyses show that there is no need for fundamental adjustments to the Swiss legal framework or the introduction of a technology act. However, there is still a need for specific amendments to some federal acts.
On 25 September 2020, Parliament unanimously adopted the bill to adapt federal law to developments in distributed ledger technology (DLT). This bill will increase legal certainty, remove obstacles for DLT-based applications and limit the risk of abuse.
One of the proposal's key areas is the amendment of securities law. It will provide a secure legal basis for the trading of rights through electronic registers. Furthermore, the segregation of crypto-based assets in the event of bankruptcy will be clarified by law. Finally, a new licence category for DLT trading systems will be established in financial market infrastructure law, thereby creating a flexible legal framework for new forms of financial market infrastructure.
During its meeting on 11 December 2020, the Federal Council brought into force, with effect from 1 February 2021, the parts of the DLT bill that enable ledger-based securities to be introduced. In addition, from that date, the ombudsman affiliation requirement applies only to those financial service providers that serve private clients. The remaining provisions of the DLT bill will probably enter into force on 1 August 2021.
Analysis of money laundering risks
On 14 December 2018, the Federal Council took note of a report by the interdepartmental coordinating group on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism (CGMF) on the money laundering and terrorist financing risks posed by crypto assets and crowdfunding. The analysis showed that crypto-based assets pose a threat in the area of money laundering and terrorist financing. Due to the small number of cases, the real risk in Switzerland cannot be estimated conclusively.
Last modification 16.02.2021