Switzerland looks to expand leading blockchain position
The region between Zug and Zurich in particular has developed in recent years into a centre for blockchain technology, according to an article in NZZ am Sonntag.
“Developers, investors and entrepreneurs no longer travel from Switzerland to Silicon Valley when it comes to blockchain. On the contrary, people come from California to us in Crypto Valley to see where things are heading,” said Matthias Michel, economic affairs director in the canton of Zug.
Mathias Ruch of Lakeside Partners, a Zug-based investor group that supports blockchain startups, is of a similar opinion. He describes Switzerland as a “leading location in the world” for blockchain.
This is also reflected in investments: around half of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) – in which digital currencies are sold to help finance startups – flowed into Crypto Valley in 2017. As of the end of September, this amounted to up to 2 billion Swiss francs worldwide, so around 1 billion francs for Switzerland alone, according to the article.
Policymakers are also keen to drive this development, which is why economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann and finance minister Ueli Maurer launched a taskforce for blockchain technology together with representatives from science and industry. Its goal is to develop proposals for policymakers on how this area can be regulated.
“We’re counting on self-regulation as much as possible,” said Michel.
The plan is for liberal regulation, according to Schneider-Amman, which will “open up opportunities for Switzerland as a business location while at the same time minimize risks”.