Cryptocurrency Exchange License in Switzerland

July 31, 2022

Switzerland is the preeminent center for incorporating cryptobusinesses. The status of getting licensed here authorizes the holder to operate a crypto exchange, manage crypto wallets, and conduct an ICO or security token offers. The hassle-free process of licensing makes this country a preferable jurisdiction for blockchain-associated operations. This is an overlook of a cryptocurrency exchange license in Switzerland.

Overlook of the regulating approach

Swiss lawful environment is highly friendly when it comes to virtual assets. For digital currencies, the legal structure empowering buying/selling of these assets has been introduced for a few years. The crypto domain is under the oversight of the local regulative agency FINMA which uses in its practice the rule ‘same activity, same regulation’ to any type of modern technologies. FINMA is following this approach at the moment when executing financially-related market laws in terms of virtual assets and blockchain applications.

In general, FINMA grants four licenses that are applied to local corporations (AG) or limited liability structures (GMBH). Legal entities may acquire appropriate authorizations subject to the character of their projects. These classifications are as follows:

A license for:

  • Exchange;
  • Fintech;
  • Investment fund;

General overview of Cryptocurrency Exchange License in Switzerland

As specified in the relevant law, financial agents who do not belong to SROs should receive an appropriate license, given by the local financial regulative authority FINMA. The terms of this permit can be found in Article 14 of the AML Act; they should be satisfied prior to the granting of a license to an applicant. Hence, a financial agent must:

  • Have a legal permit for conducting company activities or be included in the public record for companies and merchants evidencing the commercial nature of the entity.
  • Feature a duly-organized structure and ensure the company`s operational rules are in line with AMLA rules.
  • Be able to demonstrate full adherence to the AML Act and evidence of proper conduct.
  • Form a Swiss company, the appointment of an administrative professional is not mandatory, but an annual assembly of a company’s executives, heads, and interested stockholders must take place.
  • The paid-in capital requirement to form a business is 100,000 CHF.
  • Data of the beneficiary and holders of shares has a confidential nature, but the data of directors is accessible to the public.
  • In terms of financial obligations, there are two levels of taxes: the federal taxes are 7%, while cantonal rates range: each region has different rates between 11,9 and 24%.

Documentation Necessary for Getting Licensed

To acquire a Swiss crypto license, an applier must prepare and send the duplicates of the next official papers (of all shareholders and senior managers):

  • Government-issued identification document;
  • Evidence of residential address;
  • Bank statement;
  • CV;
  • Educational evidence;
  • Evidence of source of money;
  • Good conduct certificate;
  • Overview of planned business activities;
  • Internal manuals;
  • Bank reference of each senior manager.

FINMA will proceed with the appeal after all forms have been sent without any errors. If that is the case, the applicant may be requested to provide some other details or certificates to be in line with licensing obligations.

Overview of the Licensing Process

  • Preparing and sending the pack of the necessary forms;
  • Paying all fees for the company incorporation and getting licensed;
  • Setting up a Swiss company;
  • Opening an account in a local banking institution;
  • Sending a license application.

If you are interested in acquiring more details about a crypto exchange license in Switzerland, do not hesitate to contact us for detailed information.

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