Switzerland is creating an astounding as it becomes a global crypto hub.
Switzerland has always been known as the land of old money. It is the place where the world’s richest of families park their billions of funds and other assets accumulated over the centuries. But lately, it seems that the country is upgrading its old money image. Switzerland has just become the home of the newest and cutting-edge in financial technology – as a global hub for cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology.
While Switzerland has proven its success in luring in old money, the country’s allure is surprisingly strong in the modern crypto world as well. For instance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world Bitfinex has been reported to be planning to move its center of operations to a European location. And of course, among the possible locations being taken into consideration is none other than Switzerland.
At the moment, the crypto exchange is in talks with Swiss authorities over the possible relocation. Bitfinex officials already had several meeting with Switzerland’s State Secretariat for International Financial Affairs (SIF).
In addition, Bitfinex has already reached out to Johann Schneider-Ammann, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. Scheider-Ammann is a known supporter of cryptocurrency, having previously expressed his desire for Switzerland to become a “crypto nation” and has advocated for the country to continue fostering a crypto-friendly regulatory climate.
“We are looking for a new permanent home for Bitfinex and the parent company iFinex, where we want to merge the operations previously spread over several locations,” Bitfinex CEO Jean-Louis van der Velde was quoted by Handelszeitung.
Bitfinex handles almost half a billion trades daily and is currently ranked as the fifth biggest crypto exchange in terms of volume. Its current headquarter is located in Hong Kong and is a subsidiary of iFinex, Inc.
Bitfinex’s move to Switzerland could also mean the establishment of its parent firm iFinex as a public limited company with its shares tradable on the Swiss stock exchange. The development would mean that both Bitfinex and iFinex’s legal, finance and customer services offices will be located in the same location, which could simplify processes and make both firms’ operations more transparent.
In fact, it was one of the reasons given by Bitfinex CEO Jean-Louis van der Velde as an explanation for the transfer to Europe. “We want to be the most transparent of all exchanges and meet the requirements of the Swiss regulator.”
Contrary to its old money image, Switzerland has always been supportive of cryptocurrencies. Four years ago, its largest city, Zurich, put up the country’s first bitcoin ATM. At the same time, the Swiss national rail company has put up 1,000 locations all over the country where one can purchase cryptocurrencies.
Meanwhile, the town of Zug, located near Zurich is now touted as a “Crypto Valley.” Thanks to its taxation scheme that is attractive to businesses, the town has managed to launch a number of crypto-related startups.
For now, it might be too early to call Switzerland with certainty as the world’s crypto capital. But taking into consideration that four out of six biggest ICOs happened in the country, it’s to get there soon.