FINMA launches a regulation of ICO in the cryptocurrency tax heaven

Switzerland is known for its long history of aiding banks’ clients to avoid the US taxation and housing around 27% of the global offshore wealth. By establishing "Crypto Valley", a hub for virtual currencies in Zug, Switzerland became a crypto nation and the world's leading ecosystem for crypto, Blockchain, and distributed ledger technologies. 

Swiss-based ICOs raised over $550 million, thus 14% of the global ICO market due to the country's attractiveness for ICOs both for investors and issuers. No matter how favorable the tax laws are, once some kind of restrictions must appear and that day is coming.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) published a set of guidelines yesterday, Feb. 16, for applying existing financial market legislation to the regulation of ICO. Currently, there is no specific regulation in place or "consistent legal doctrine" for handling ICOs in the country. In order to assess future ICOs and determine which laws apply, FINMA says it will break ICO tokens into three categories: payment tokens, utility tokens, and asset tokens.

In case of payment tokens, requirements will comply with money laundering laws. Utility tokens can be partially used as assets, meaning they and asset tokens comply with the laws concerning securities.

“Our balanced approach to handling ICO projects and inquiries allows legitimate innovators to navigate the regulatory landscape and so launch their projects in a way consistent with our laws protecting investors and the integrity of the financial system." — says FINMA CEO Mark Branson.