After the resounding success of the two last editions, the 2021 edition of the Geneva Blockchain Congress will focus on ROI and use cases.
10 reasons why
Switzerland’s heritage of decentralization and technological prowess provides the best launch pad for your blockchain project.
Leading jurisdiction for ICOs
The Swiss authorities are progressive, pragmatic and committed to building a blockchain-friendly regulatory framework. In February 2018, the national financial market authority, FINMA, became the first regulator in the world to publish clear guidelines on ICOs. The guidelines recognize the innovative potential of blockchain technology, clarify the application of financial market legislation in handling enquiries from ICO organizers and classify tokens issued during ICOs based on their economic function. In May 2018, the Geneva cantonal authorities released the very first guide dedicated to supporting ICO project promoters.
Starting a company with crypto
More than 60 companies have already used cryptoassets to either set up or inject fresh capital into their enterprise in Switzerland. The first one was IndéNodes, a company that mines tokens on the Komodo blockchain system. In December 2017, the founders of IndéNodes used bitcoins instead of Swiss francs to cover the minimum capital requirements to launch their company.
Home to leading international organizations and to the world’s most advanced blockchain ecosystem, Switzerland is the place to be for associations and global bodies involved in shaping the future of blockchain technology. These include the Crypto Valley Association, the Capital Markets and Technology Association, the Global Blockchain Business Council, the Swiss Association of Crypto Investors and the Swiss Blockchain Association.
SIX Digital Exchange
Switzerland’s stock exchange is building SIX Digital Exchange, the first market infrastructure in the world to offer a fully integrated trading, settlement and custody service for digital assets. The first services will be rolled out in mid-2019. The new service will provide a safe environment for issuing and trading digital assets, and enable the tokenization of existing securities and non-bankable assets to make previously untradeable assets tradeable.
Legal and banking solutions
Western Switzerland boasts a comprehensive network of blockchain-savvy service providers, from banks and law firms, to accounting, audit and tax experts. The GGBa works with a number of law firms including DLT Law, HDC, ID EST, Leax Avocats, Ochsner & Associés and Walder Wyss. It also collaborates with commercial and private banks offering services to blockchain clients.
A network of advisors
The GGBa relies on a pool of competent and experienced advisors and consultants, who are specialized in blockchain and DLT projects, as well as marketing and event planning. Among them are the eBusiness Institute, InnMind, Psion Finance and Swiss Crypto Advisors.
Innovation hubs and incubators
Western Switzerland’s innovation infrastructure supports the development of blockchain ventures from the very early stages. Bordier Finlab, Fongit, Fusion’s Blockchain Lab, InnoPeaks, and Y-Start offer seeding, incubation and acceleration programs to foster the growth of blockchain products and start-ups. At Coworking Neuchâtel, like-minded entrepreneurs can work and network in a blockchain-driven environment.
Academic and continuing education
The offering of higher education in Western Switzerland is of an exemplary standard, fostering talent and skills for innovation. The University of Geneva and the CREA School offer continuing education programs in blockchain and DLT. The Blockchain Lab of the HES-SO Valais/Wallis works on various research projects in the eHealth, eServices, and eEnergy sectors. The Center for Digital Trust (C4DT) combines EPFL’s renowned expertise in cybersecurity, sensitive data protection and blockchain and smart-contracting technology with the capabilities of 12 institutional and industrial partners. The Swiss Blockchain Winter School, organized jointly by EPFL, ETHZ, and IC3, was held in Interlaken during the week of February 10-15, 2019.
Successful peer companies
Western Switzerland is home to a dynamic business community comprised of around 80 companies — and counting. Among them are well-established cryptofinance platforms, promising start-ups and renowned large players. More and more high-tech industrial companies choose Western Switzerland to carry out their ICO or STO.
International and local events
Switzerland bustles with events and conferences to complement and enhance the day-to-day business of its dynamic blockchain community. The country regularly hosts internationally renowned blockchain events, such as the Blockchain Leadership Summit, the Crypto Finance Conference, the Crypto Summit, the CV Summit and the Geneva Annual Blockchain Congress. Informal meetups are organized all year round by Fusion, InnMind, the Western Switzerland Chapter of the Crypto Valley Association, and many others.
Selected peer companies
Western Switzerland is a hotbed of blockchain development
Vincent Trouche, CEO, Tokenestate
We received decisive support when establishing our blockchain fintech in Western Switzerland. The cantonal authorities helped us with banking matters, an incubator provided us with office space, and we met a thriving tech and blockchain scene in the region. In addition, the region is home to a number of private banks and asset managers, which is an important point for us.
Vincent Pignon, CEO, WeCan.Fund
Switzerland has developed into the world’s leading location for the development of blockchain technology. The regulation of digital assets and DLT in Switzerland is a model of pragmatism and flexibility that allows for the growth of blockchain companies. Western Switzerland’s outstanding blockchain ecosystem also includes key industrial partners, active authorities and leading R&D communities such as CERN and EPFL.
Patrick Trinkler, CEO, Cysec Systems
The idea behind blockchain is to transfer information in a way that guarantees trust, transparency, integrity and traceability. At Cysec Systems, we have decided to develop our solutions in Switzerland, the country that best embodies these important values. Here we have found a strong human capital: the engineers and cryptographers from EPFL, HEPIA and HEIG-VD are incredibly qualified. We also benefit from powerful innovation support programs, such as Innosuisse, Innovaud and the EPFL Innovation Park.
Vincent Mignon, Founder, Leax Avocats
Western Switzerland in general and Neuchatel in particular were able to understand very early on the challenges and opportunities of the blockchain technology. This allowed the development of expertise at the legal, tax, economic, banking and technical levels. Entrepreneurs put the odds on their side by choosing Western Switzerland to achieve their objectives.
Florian Ducommun, Founder, HDC Law Firm
Both the Swiss government and the financial market supervisory authority (FINMA) are welcoming fintech and blockchain businesses. The current legal framework in Switzerland allows the self-issuance of tokens by companies, including in the form of security tokens. This is a great opportunity for innovative companies based in Switzerland to gain access to capital markets.
Alexandre Karako, Director, Psion Finance
Switzerland presents many advantages for blockchain companies. It is home to a growing blockchain ecosystem and has an excellent reputation and a powerful financial services industry. It is a leading jurisdiction for ICOs and one of the best-ranked countries in terms of funding raised by ICOs. Last but definitely not least, it will be at the forefront of the secondary market in security token thanks to institutions like SIX Digital Exchange.
Arnaud Salomon, CEO, Mt Pelerin
Western Switzerland gathers a rare mix of ingredients required for a blockchain banking fintech like Mt Pelerin to thrive. It is of course one of the world’s major banking hub, and it is extremely valuable for us to be at the heart of such a diverse and stimulating financial environment. Local authorities are also very proactive in supporting the blockchain ecosystem with constructive and intelligent measures, and as a result we have a booming community that is unique in the world.
Adrien Treccani, CEO, Metaco
Blockchain was originally designed to compete with established banking models, by offering a distributed, peer-to-peer payment currency. Recent years have demonstrated that it has the potential to dramatically increase transparency, trust, and cost-effectiveness in the financial sector as well. We founded Metaco in Switzerland to be in one of the most active, innovative and trusted financial centers in the world. The quality of life and our exceptional education system allow us to work with highly talented and passionate engineers, while benefiting from the continuous support and advisory of Swiss innovation programs.
Swiss legislation is designed to help the blockchain industry thrive
On 16 February 2018, FINMA became the first financial market authority in the world to release clear guidelines for ICOs.
The guidelines can be found here:
On 28 May 2018, the State of Geneva issued a guide in support of ICO project holders. It specifies the VAT liability and general tax treatment of tokens and outlines the criteria to be met to gain the support of the cantonal authorities.
The Geneva ICO guide can be found here:
On 14 December 2018, the Swiss Federal Council published a report on the legal framework for blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT). The document shows that Switzerland’s legal framework is well suited to dealing with these new technologies. It also reaffirms the country’s commitment to creating the best possible framework conditions for fintech and blockchain companies.
The Federal Council report can be found here:
On 11 September 2019, following a request from the Geneva-based Libra Association, FINMA published a supplement to its ICO guidelines outlining how it treats so-called stable coins under Swiss supervisory law.
The information can be found here:
Find out about the latest blockchain developments in Switzerland
Vaud-based digital asset custody start-up METACO raises $17 million
METACO, the leading provider of security-critical digital asset infrastructure for financial institutions, has announced a Series A round of $17 million. This funding will drive the next phase of METACO’s growth in sales, product, and partnerships on an international level.