The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) has issued guidelines to banks who want to do business with crypto startups in the country, which is aimed at making access to traditional bank accounts easier.
Switzerland’s Crypto Valley
The European country is known as being one of the most crypto-friendly nations. In particular, the small town of Zug, near the Swiss city of Lucerne, has attracted a number of companies and foundations to it and has become the heart of what is known as the Crypto Valley.
According to Oliver Bussmann, head of the Crypto Valley Association, 530 blockchain startups have settled around Zurich and Zug, reports Reuters.
One reason organizations are flocking to the area is its low tax rate. Zug charges just a 14 percent corporation tax. This is compared to the United States, which levies a 25.7 percent corporation tax. Yet despite Switzerland enjoying its crypto status, a number of startups are leaving.
This is due to the fact that many are finding it difficult to open traditional bank accounts. The report states that this is because banks fear they will fall foul of anti-money laundering (AML) laws. In a bid to answer this, the SBA has issued guidelines to banks.
Speaking to a news conference, Adrian Schatzmann, SBA strategic adviser, said:
We believe that with these guidelines, we’ll be able to establish a basis for discussion between banks and innovative startups, making the dialogue simpler and facilitating the opening of accounts.
It’s hoped that by doing so, more crypto startups will be able to open bank accounts. The rules are designed to help banks understand what assessments should be carried out. To date, only a handful of the 250 banks in Switzerland have permitted companies to deposit crypto raised from initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Switzerland Says No to Pro-Crypto Money Initiative
In June, the country voted down a Sovereign Money Initiative. The aim of this was seeking to limit banks from creating money electronically.
Unlike fiat currency, crypto is decentralized and, as in Bitcoin’s case, limited. Fiat, though, is controlled by banks, and new money can be put into circulation without much thought. The Sovereign Money Initiative, however, was aiming to bring fiat more in line with cryptocurrency.
Yet, despite Switzerland’s pro-cryptocurrency stance, it voted against the plan. Notably, however, 500,000 people are reported to have supported the measure.
What do you think of Switzerland’s plans to make opening bank accounts easier for blockchain startups? Let us know in the comments below.
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