was successfully added to your cart.
Monthly Archives

October 2018

CVA is founding member of Swiss Blockchain Federation

By | Articles
The Crypto Valley Association is happy to announce that it is supporting the launch of the Swiss Blockchain Federation as a founding member. The Swiss Blockchain Federation (formerly the Swiss Blockchain Taskforce) is a publicprivate partnership, combining agents from the blockchain sector, the fields of politics and economics, the scientific community and the public sphere.
 
The aim of the Federation is to enhance Switzerland’s status as an attractive location for blockchain-based activities and maintain the country’s competitive edge in the sector.
 
The Crypto Valley Association looks forward to working with other members of the Federation to promote the crypto and blockchain ecosystem in Switzerland and beyond – and building bridges across all areas of the worldwide blockchain community.
More information can be found here (in German).

Weekly Twitter Summary (2018-10-21 – 2018-10-27)

By | Public Announcements

Interview with SEBA Guido Buehler

By | Articles

SEBA Crypto AG recently made waves by announcing its launch of a bid to become Switzerland’s first fully-regulated crypto bank – building a bridge between the fiat and crypto world.

Its CEO, Guido Buehler (formerly of UBS) shared his thoughts on the vision for SEBA and what it might mean for Crypto Valley in an interview originally published on Sionik.


 

Tell us briefly how the idea for SEBA came about…

Just like almost everything else in our world, money is going digital. When I pulled the SEBA team together in early February, I had in mind a new type of bank. A bank that bridges the gap between the old and the new economies and one that promotes the core values of Safety, Transparency and Performance.  We are undergoing an economic transformation of epic proportions. Blockchain technology, the Internet of Things melding with the Internet of Money, the convergence of Cryptography, Computer Science and Economics – all of these technologies are enablers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which I and many believe is upon us.

Blockchain, also referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), is about more than crypto currency or digital money. DLT is fundamental to securely storing physical assets in a digital format. By creating global, tamper-proof ledgers that authenticate ownership, assets such as securities, property deeds, artwork, jewelry and diamonds, personal identity documents and educational and other certificates of authenticity can be instantly validated, reducing the potential for theft and fraud. The proliferation of DLT is leading to the formation of new markets and innovative ways of creating value. This convergence of the digital and tangible worlds creates a significant need for a new type of banking paradigm. That’s why at SEBA, we are committed to redefining finance for the new economy.

If you could condense into one sentence – what is the mission of SEBA?

To be one of the world’s first universal, fully licensed and supervised crypto banks that will bridge the divide between traditional fiat and the new world of crypto.

You are aiming to obtain the highest level of banking license and yet many (most) refer to SEBA as a “crypto bank” – how do you reconcile these two aspects?

It is important to understand that FINMA doesn’t have a type of license that is specific to crypto banks. We are in contact with FINMA to apply for a Banking and Securities Dealer license.  What this means is that we will be able to offer crypto AND fiat – transaction banking and all other services – all from one financial services partner.

Our ambition is to help our clients achieve exceptional performance in terms of wealth management and growth, within a supervised and regulated framework. In today’s newly forming economy, we must be able to offer these services across both crypto and fiat, because crypto is rapidly emerging as a desirable asset class. We would not be able to deliver on our promise without the highest level of banking license attainable.

Does Switzerland and the blockchain world really need a “crypto bank?”

We believe the world does need a crypto bank because today, there is no gateway for major financial investors that facilitates movement of assets between the crypto and traditional financial markets. The crypto market’s global and unregulated nature means that significant groups within the traditional markets, such as institutional investors, asset and wealth managers, and family offices exclude themselves because the crypto markets are perceived to be too risky and speculative. The existing KYC, AML and other applicable laws and regulations may flexibly be adopted to crypto markets, but the majority of large institutional investors, who have a moderate risk tolerance, exclude themselves because of the lack of regulated and supervised market participants.

It is our vision that SEBA’s supervised and regulated services will encourage wider participation and form a bridge between crypto and traditional financial markets.

 

A majority of your team (yourself included) come from UBS – is this a value add or a downside for your development and eventual work with the core crypto community?

It’s good for a headline but it doesn’t accurately reflect the diverse nature of our team.  While some on our team have worked at UBS, Citi, Credit Suisse, Vontobel, etc, we also have security and technology experts from outside the banking world. And of course, we have deep expertise in the emerging crypto economy. We wouldn’t be able to deliver on our promise if we weren’t diversified outside the banking sphere.

The salient point to note is that everyone on the team has a track record for innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, no matter what their background. We believe it is this combination of skill that is required to redefine finance for the new economy.

Much has been made of the trouble startups have in getting bank accounts in Switzerland. Is part of your mission to fix this? What does SEBA aim to offer blockchain/crypto startups?

Recent SBA indications are that blockchain businesses should be treated the same as other businesses. It is our ambition that to offer custody storage, transaction banking, trading and liquidity management, and crypto corporate finance services to crypto/blockchain companies funded in crypto currency.           

Let’s imagine for a moment that SEBA fails to obtain a banking license – will the project have been in vain? Is the value of attempting this as big as actually achieving it?

The world is changing, and I believe that all financial institutions know that crypto assets will eventually become part of investment portfolios, and a new manner of storing and creating wealth. We intend to obtain one of the first truly universal crypto banking licenses so we can deliver an incredibly important infrastructural piece of the crypto economy. Our efforts will not be in vain!

Can you tell us where the name “SEBA” came from?

We chose the name SEBA because it transcends geography and languages, it is feminine and masculine, to us it represents the ying and the yang. It speaks clearly to our ethos to kill the duality between crypto and fiat.

From your current position, what advice would you give to incumbent banks (i.e. UBS, Credit Suisse etc)?

I’ve no need to advise any banks, they have their own intentions and plans with regard to the digital economy.  Our ambition is to serve the wider banking economy, serving crypto companies, institutional investors, professional investors and even banks if they decide they need a gateway into the crypto world.

What are your impressions of the Crypto Valley ecosystem? Where do you think it is headed in the next 9-12 months?

SEBA is honoured to be part of the Crypto Valley ecosystem. We may be perceived as old bankers, but this is the true meaning of the merging of the traditional and the new economies. Old meets New! We are financiers, bankers, traders and security experts with a team of blockchain experts and world-class technology partners who are building a bridge between the traditional and new financial economies. The Crypto Valley ecosystem can only benefit from such a bridge.

Weekly Twitter Summary (2018-10-14 – 2018-10-20)

By | Public Announcements

Document yourself with regards to Swiss VAT uncertainties

By | Articles

 

 

In this year’s early summer days, the Swiss Federal Tax Authorities (SFTA) has responded for the first time – after lengthy internal consultations – with a draft practice circular to the pressing issue of the treatment of crypto businesses and transactions such as ICOs and TGEs for Swiss value-added tax (VAT) purposes. Although it has been a first move into the right direction, the draft practice circular leaves a fair amount of questions and uncertainties which will remain until the final text has been confirmed by the SFTA. Hence, an impressive amount of comments has been submitted to the attention of the SFTA (incl. several members of the Crypto Valley Association Working Group Tax / Accounting / Structuring [CVA WG TAS]) to ensure the viewpoints of the crypto community are properly understood.

Nevertheless, business must go on and start-ups need to deal with such VAT uncertainties in an appropriate manner. Given the fact that unknowingness does not protect you from sanctions, it becomes necessary to smartly document the internal VAT and risk assessment of such VAT uncertainties.

A plausible option could be to supplement your accounts with a write-up of your internal considerations and reflections whether you see a VAT liability accruing or not from your business activities. Such documents and policy help proving a best-efforts approach once the final text of the VAT practice will be enforced. By not proactively acting upon these VAT uncertainties, there is a certain risk that the SFTA might interpret such behavior as being ignorant to the rule of law and could subject you to adverse VAT effects.

The Crypto Valley Association Working Group Tax / Accounting / Structuring and its members are available in case you look for professional support:

Weekly Twitter Summary (2018-10-07 – 2018-10-13)

By | Public Announcements

New WG Co-Chair for Western Switzerland Chapter

By | Articles

The Western Switzerland Chapter of the Crypto Valley Association is glad to welcome Aires Marques as new co-chair to help further the expansion of the ecosystem in Swiss Romandie.

Until recently Aires, whilst a Senior Principal Blockchain Consultant at Oracle, oversaw the coordination of the Romandie Chapter of Toastmasters.

Special welcome to Aires!