According to Reuters, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) issued a guide recently for banks that want to do business with crypto-related companies to solve out issues regarding the access for firms related to cryptocurrencies into the Swiss banking sector. The guidelines were built with the support of the Crypto Valley Association (CVA), to maintain Switzerland as a center for businesses based on crypto and blockchain technology.
According to the press release, just a few of the 250 Swiss banks have agreed to receive funds raised through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), while Switzerland’s fourth-largest bank, Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB), closed the accounts of more than 20 crypto startups so far this year.
CVA Director Oliver Bussmann said that about 530 startups related to crypto and blockchain technology had been established in the Swiss Crypto Valley, in Zurich and Zug. These companies need access to banking services to make their operations viable. However, the banks claim that, by signing contracts with these companies, they could violate their anti-money laundering (AML) rules as well as other regulations. Bank sources argue that some of the startups that carried out ICO did not adopt the necessary controls to their investors.
The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) new guidelines make a difference between ICO-financed blockchain technology companies and those crypto-related firms finance with fiat money
“We believe that, with these guidelines, we will be able to establish a basis for discussion between banks and innovative startups, simplifying dialogue and facilitating the opening of accounts,” said Adrian Schatzmann, the Strategic Advisor at the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA).
Both the SBA and the CVA are confident that the new rules will create clarity for banks about the assessments they must make, and for crypto and blockchain technology companies about the information they must provide when opening a bank account. In this sense, the guide distinguishes between companies based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) that raise capital through ICOs and those that do not use this mode to raise funds.
The new guidelines also make a distinction between companies that are financed with cryptocurrencies, usually Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) and those that are funded through fiat money. According to the text, blockchain technology-based companies that do not receive financing through ICOs should be treated under the same parameters as any other commercial company.
Startups that use ICOs, on the other hand, should adhere to particular criteria depending on whether the financing is through fiat currency or if it is through cryptocurrencies.