How a Swiss law change is ushering blockchain and cryptocurrencies into a new era

Posting date: 08 October 2020

Switzerland has long been known as an innovator, even earning the title of the most innovative country in the world. The nation has a proud history of adopting new technologies and registering patents, with an entrepreneurial, forward-thinking spirit that permeates businesses all over the country. This has just been taken one step further thanks to the parliamentary passing of new finance and corporate law amendments which officially recognise the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.


What are blockchain and cryptocurrency?

Blockchain has been a major buzzword in Switzerland – and around the world – in recent years, for many reasons. As a technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency, blockchain provides data security solutions, allowing users to make and confirm transactions without needing a central clearing authority. It has a range of applications within different industries, particularly within banking and finance where it has enormous potential for fund transfers and settling trades.


A cryptocurrency, meanwhile, is a digital medium of monetary exchange, using encryption techniques to control the creation and transfer of funds. When most people think of cryptocurrency they’ll think of Bitcoin, which is the name of the market-leading cryptocurrency for which blockchain technology was invented. Cryptocurrency hasn’t always had the most positive public image and has in the past been associated with money laundering and crime, with different countries taking different approaches to the regulation of cryptocurrencies. Switzerland, however, has always been one of the world’s most crypto-friendly nations, with a strong cryptocurrency network in Zug and around 900 blockchain companies calling Switzerland home.


What do the new Swiss laws mean?

In early September, Swiss Senate parliamentarians passed a set of financial and corporate law reforms, which included the “Blockchain Act”. The Act was unopposed in the House of Representatives which suggests it will likely come into effect as law in early 2021. The ground-breaking law will bring blockchain and cryptocurrency into the mainstream, removing obstacles for applications and creating more legal security and abuse prevention. It will set standards for crypto exchanges, facilitating providers who only serve institutional and professional customers and creating a new framework to limit the risk of distributed ledger technology (DLT) abuse. All of this could potentially create a platform for a decentralised finance landscape, providing plenty of new job opportunities in both the technology and financial services sectors.


Switzerland boasts a range of crypto banks, alpine cryptocurrency vaults, different blockchains, digital currency projects and digital stock exchanges, making it perfectly positioned to embrace new blockchain and cryptocurrency laws. If and when the laws are passed, there will be “an established legal basis for exchanging digital-only securities and for reclaiming digital assets from bankrupt companies”, according to Swissinfo, something which Swiss banks will be paying close attention to. After the somewhat chaotic 2017-2018 phase of blockchain start-up crowd funding, more regulations and security will be a welcome change, and banks would be smart to consider how they could incorporate blockchain and cryptocurrency in a bid to remain competitive. We’ve already seen Credit Suisse and UBS begin to test the potential of DLT trading, while Julius Bär has established a partnership with crypto bank SEBA, and a handful of private banks are already offering cryptocurrency services to some clients. As the laws look set to usher in a new era for crypto and blockchain, we can expect to see similar moves being made throughout the banking world.


Keep informed with Swisslinx

At Swisslinx, our company’s roots lie within technology, which means we have a vested interested in keeping ahead of the latest market tends. We have a special interest in fintech and disruptive technologies and organisations, as well as the more established financial institutions in Switzerland and around the world. This makes us ideally positioned to support both candidates and clients in the markets of technology and financial services. Contact us to see how we can work together, or follow our blog to stay up to date with the latest industry news.

Charity Announcement – Food for everyone - Pastor Sieber/Essen für Alle

Swisslinx is delighted to announce that instead of hosting Christmas events this year, we are supporting a Zurich-based initiative called Food for Everyone. We have donated 20’000 CHF to this organisation, founded by Amine Diare Conde, who recognised the need to support the most vulnerable people affected by the COVID crisis. The charity received publicity in recent months for its valuable contribution, and our donation has been provisioned specifically to support the distribution of food to those in need due to financial constraints caused by the pandemic and will enable it to continue operating longer into 2021.   The organisation Pastor Sieber is leading the Food for Everyone project by distributing basic food and hygiene to those in need. Since 1988, Pastor Seiber has worked tirelessly to help disadvantaged people. The charity focuses on those who’ve experienced hardship and gives long-term care to people in a crisis. Pastor Sieber offers a range of support and facilities, including safe places to sleep for the homeless, social counselling and food banks. People who are struggling to find shelter and food can expect to receive pastoral care and find a temporary home with the charity.    We chose this charity as it is founded on strong values and ethics, which includes helping people in need, regardless of their background, religion or social status. Pastor Sieber relies on donations to support people who are struggling, especially right now. The Food for Everyone initiative has the power to change the lives of many people. That’s why the team at Swisslinx decided it was time to offer a helping hand to ensure the charity can continue to provide care during these challenging times.     If you would like to contribute, then visit Food for Everyone’s and Pastor Sieber’s donation pages where you’ll be able to commit yourself to a fantastic cause.

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An Overview of Switzerland’s thriving technology market

Switzerland has long been a world leader in innovation and technology. Ranked as the most innovative country in the world by the Global Innovation Index, the country remains at the forefront of science and technological research. Switzerland has always been quick to utilize new technologies to create robust innovation across a range of industries, from the financial services to healthcare and life sciences.   Over the years, Switzerland has gained a reputation for being the centre for research around artificial intelligence. Indeed, the country currently holds the most AI patents in the European health care industry. And as Switzerland continue to invest in new technologies, we can expect smarter applications to appear across all industries. With all this in mind, let’s take a look at Switzerland’s thriving technology market in more detail.   Switzerland’s tech hubs In Switzerland, fintech is a key driver of innovation throughout the country, paving the way for several tech hubs. For example, the Swiss city of Zug, not too far from Zurich, is home to bitcoin and blockchain start-ups. Blockchain technology is used in a wide range of industries, including insurance and logistics. The city has become so synonymous with the tech movement that it earned the nickname “Crypto Valley” – and it’s the fastest growing technology hub in Europe. In a 2018 report, it was shown that the city grew by 177% in the number of tech-related events. Since then, Crypto Valley has continued to thrive, even in the face of uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic. With its ever-expanding pool of developers and software companies, Switzerland has become a tech hub paradise. Other cities like Lausanne have very successful technology companies, with a focus on AI, health tech and energy.   Tech start-ups Since 1996, the number of start-ups in Switzerland has increased by 700%, with Zurich taking up most of the share. It’s important to know that Switzerland is one of the most expensive places to start a business, due to high living costs. Despite this, Switzerland has still managed to become one of the go-to countries for starting a technology company. Some of the most notable tech start-ups in recent years include Bestmile, a software company that provides autonomous vehicles, and they have offices in San Francisco and London. In 2019, it was named one of the top five best Swiss start-ups in an annual competition. Further afield in the Swiss start-up world is Flyability. Founded in 2014, the company build drones that can be used indoors to check for security and safety and dangerous spaces. The company raised 16m in total to build the drones, which promise to provide fully autonomous inspection. Flyability is focused on reducing risk for workers in confined spaces, and for the environment itself.   Key trends Several key technology trends are making waves in Switzerland. Wearable technology, for example, is having a huge impact on the Swiss insurance industry. It has the potential to help companies better understand their customers with the use of data, and as a result, manage risk and improve processes. Other trends like big data and robotics are big players and have been gaining momentum in recent years, especially in the Swiss healthcare sector. These technologies have the potential to tackle a variety of challenges in healthcare, as outlined in the digital opportunity report by the University of St. Gellen. More data and optimisation can lead to better decision-making in healthcare and create more trust for patients. There’s no doubt Switzerland has developed into an innovative hub for all kinds of technology, all of which continue to fuel the economy at a rapid rate.   Are you looking for your next opportunity in technology? At Swisslinx, we have a deep understanding of the digital and technology industry. It’s a sector that continues to evolve, with innovations coming out daily. Our team of consultants are always up to date with the latest trends in the tech market, and they use their knowledge to support candidates. If you’re looking to land your next role in technology, take a look at our job page for more information.

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