First swiss cryptocurrency exchange has gone live05 August 2019
Smart Valor, the first cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland that offers brokerage, custody and trading of nine pairs of cryptocurrencies and FIAT currencies, has been launched. The platform is operated by Zug-based start-up that was created two years ago in Thomson Reuters Incubator.
Smart Valor was launched
In 2017 as part of Thomson Reuters Incubator a fintech start-up aimed to create a platform for FIAT and cryptocurrencies exchange was created in Zug. Two years later the crypto-exchange was launched – Smart Valor has just gone live. It offers custody, brokerage and exchange of security tokens and cryptocurrencies. Available are Bitcoin and Ether form crypto-market and FIAT currencies like CHF, EUR, USD and GBP – matched into nine pairs in which by a proper exchange rate one can buy or sell a given crypto or FIAT currency.
Smart Valor to go for MTF license
More cryptocurrencies, as well as tokens based on blockchain, will be added to the exchange each month, as the platform aims to grow and scale its offerings. There is also a plan to introduce tokens representing real assets. The next big step for the exchange will be applying for Multilateral Trading Facility license which will allow it to list any equity instruments, derivatives or funds in the form of tokenized securities. To operate legally in Switzerland, Smart Valor has already gotten a green light from regulators, and also its Lichtenstein-based subsidiary can function as a financial intermediary offering crypto exchanges services. Ledger from France and BitGo from the US are jointly responsible for provision of wallets and custody to Smart Valor.
Crypto business’ issues
Even though Smart Valor launch is considered a huge success for fintech and crypto-market, and Switzerland has opinion of crypto-friendly country, such businesses are still not fully accepted by the traditional financial market. There is hype for crypto assets and start-ups, but financial market is not having it: the main concern is that cryptocurrencies might be used for money laundering purposes. They are not considered as safe and reliable as, for instance, Swiss francs. Banks are cautious with agreeing to deal with cryptocurrencies and crypto-based assets due to popular belief that anonymous transactions are being used by terrorists and frauds to finance attack and for money laundering purposes.
Lack of laws for crypto market
Cryptocurrency business in Switzerland has not have it any easier due to also lack of regulations and laws. In Liechtenstein for instance there was established a clear and transparent law regulating this industry. Due to lack of any regulations, Swiss fintech blockchain start-ups are looking for joining any self-regulatory organization to prove their lawfulness and transparent rules. Being a member of a SRO requires adhering to AML procedures. This also allows crypto-companies to get an approval for operations by FINMA, the main watchdog for the financial market in Switzerland. Some companies operating in crypto or blockchain business try even to obtain a banking license or a securities broker licenses issued by FINMA.
The biggest SRO in Switzerland is VQF and is representing the whole business. By joining VQF, crypto-companies or fintech start-ups operating in blockchain area can gain a dose of trustworthiness and prestige. Bitcoin Suisse was one of the first to join VQF in 2014. Membership in this SRO is gaining popularity among crypto-firms, as already 7 percent of members has connection to this industry.
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