Swiss Financial Regulator Grants Fund License to Crypto Asset Management Startup

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has recently granted Zug-based startup Crypto Finance AG a license to operate as an asset manager of collective investment schemes.

As detailed in a recent Bloomberg report, with Crypto Finance’s new status, the firm can now provide services and investment advice to institutional clients looking to invest in the blockchain-based asset class, in addition to offering a broader range of crypto-related, collective investment products.

As Crypto Finance AG CEO Jan Brzezek stated, “the importance of crypto assets is growing and our aim is to accelerate maturity in these markets,” adding that FINMA’s license approval was a valuable acknowledgment of the company and of crypto assets across the globe.

Since its establishment, Crypto Finance AG has been providing clients blockchain-related services through its three subsidiaries—Crypto Broker AG, which serves as the firm’s brokerage arm for institutional investors; Crypto Fund AG, which oversees management of assets; and Crypto Storage AG, which offers proprietary solutions for private keys storage.

While Crypto Finance AG is the first firm to be approved by FINMA, the regulatory authority is also currently processing license applications filed by a number of other crypto-related firms, among which includes Seba Crypto AG, which has recently completed a $100 million funding round participated by both institutional and private investors to build a regulated bank for cryptocurrencies.

Led by former UBS managers Guido Buehler and Andreas Amschwand, the Zug-based startup is now seeking to obtain a license from FINMA to provide consumers both traditional as well as crypto banking services. Should the firm earn the regulator’s approval, the startup will be able to manage crypto investments for investors and banks, on top of providing a number of corporate financing services, including crypto services for consumers, banking services for corporate clients, and technical guidance on initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Known among the crypto community for spearheading crypto-friendly initiatives, Switzerland has continuously been strengthening its position as the world’s leading crypto hub. In September, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) has outlined new guidelines aimed to support blockchain-related startups, in an effort to develop a legal framework for blockchain technology on par with prevailing regulations governing traditional banks. The move was initiated with the objective of mitigating potential risks while promoting an atmosphere that is conducive to the growth of blockchain-related firms. As delineated in the guidelines, blockchain projects that have not launched ICOs should be treated like any other Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Recently, Swiss company Alprockz AG has also disclosed plans of launching a funding round for the development of a financial platform for its proprietary stablecoin ROCKZ (RKZ), which will be pegged to the Swiss Franc.