Swiss Government Launches Blockchain Taskforce

Flag of Switzerland flying against a backdrop of a blue sky and mountains. Image courtesy bigbirdz via Flickr

Central banks the world over are interested in exerting a measure of control over cryptocurrencies.

But the government of Switzerland sees cryptocurrencies—and its associated technology, blockchain—as an opportunity more clearly than most.

This week, the Swiss government announced the launch of its own committee to formalize its regulatory framework for blockchain-based startups and initial coin offerings.

The organization, dubbed Taskforce Blockchain, will reportedly be led by Finance Minister Ueli Mausrer and Economics and Education Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann. Comprised of both federal and local officials and representatives of various blockchain upstarts, the taskforce will work with the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters to evaluate legal guidelines for companies working in the blockchain space.

At a time when popular culture’s understanding of cryptocurrency stems from the soaring prices and mass amounts of wealth seemingly being created out of thin air, it’s worthwhile to note that Schneider-Ammann made a recognition of a potential for blockchain technology beyond the realm of finance.

“[Blockchain is] becoming more important as a technology for many industries, not just crypto finance. [What is needed is liberal regulation], which opens opportunities for Switzerland’s position while at the same time reducing risks.”

While many countries, like Indonesia and China, are approaching blockchain businesses with degrees of caution, Switzerland is home to “Crypto Valley,” a region known for a its concentration of blockchain upstarts. The government’s Federal Council, in a push to create a welcoming environment for startups and attract new businesses and ideas to the area, also proposed a regulatory sandbox last year.

According to Coindesk, Taskforce Blockchain’s first meeting will be on Jan. 12, 2018.

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Cadence is a fintech reporter and writer at Fintech Unltd, where she covers the changing landscape of financial technologies. Previously, Cadence interned at Psychology Today, Business Insider and the Wisconsin State Journal. Cadence is interested in how science and technology intersect with power and culture and is curious about the world we are creating for tomorrow, consciously or not. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2017 with degrees in Journalism and Chinese. Send tips and story ideas to Cadence at [email protected] You can also follow her on Twitter @cadencebambenek.