Swiss town referred to as Crypto Valley | City & Business | Finance

Swiss town referred to as Crypto Valley | City & Business | Finance

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The canton of Zug, half an hour from Zurich, is fast becoming a crypto haven as the city council accepts Bitcoin as a means for payment for fees by the residents’ registration office.

According to local paper Frankfurter Allgemeine, Zug, made a name for itself on the crypto scene after Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin settled there in 2014.

Richard Ettl, head of the blockchain-based logistics company Smart Containers Group in Zug, said: “Switzerland is at the epicentre of a small revolution in the financial system.”

And now the Swiss Minister of Economic Affairs Johann Schneider-Ammann (FDP) said he hopes the crypto revolution will spread outside of Zug.

He said he hopes “that in five or ten years nobody will speak about the Crypto Valley Zug, but about the Crypto Nation Switzerland”.

Oliver Bussmann, the former head of innovation and IT at the Swiss bank UBS said that to date, more than 50 start-ups from the crypto and blockchain world have settled in the canton.

Mr Bussmann advises blockchain entrepreneur and manages the Crypto Valley Association.

He said he receives around three to five enquiries a day from individuals in the crypto arena considering moving to Zug. According to a study conducted by consulting firm PWC, companies around the world raised $4.6billion in capital through initial coin offerings (ICOs) last year.

The main advantage of the canton seems to be the liberal regulatory approach taken on by the area.

Bernhard Neidhart, head of the office for economy and work in Zug, said: “This pragmatic approach has fuelled the entire blockchain scene here, including non-crypto-currency applications.”

And the nation’s financial regulator the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) has responded to the flurry of interest in digital currencies with new guidance.

Finma says it will regulate ICOs to apply anti-money laundering laws to some sales. He said low taxes are just one of the many reasons why crypto enthusiast are attracted to the area.

Mr Neidhart said: “The taxes only open the door. A lot more is needed in order to win the location competition: a highly qualified workforce, international schools and a solution-oriented administration.”

Mr Neidhart added the local authorities do their part as they answer questions very quickly without bureaucracy and deal with taxing crypto gains.

As cryptocurrencies adjust following record highs in December, Mr Neidhart said: “I do not want to dispute that there is a certain risk of a bubble forming.”

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.)


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